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This is what passes for a good steam boiler installation around here.

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JohnNY
JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
edited December 2022 in THE MAIN WALL




2" pipe. The manual calls for a 2.5" minimum diameter. The copper. The header. The Hartford Loop. I see this exact installation all over this particular town and it drives me nuts.
Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
Consulting & Troubleshooting
Heating in NYC or NJ.
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Comments

  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,529
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    It puts you in a difficult position as if you slam the installer, you look like a sore loser. Just curious what you said to the owner.
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    CLamb
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,859
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    It puts you in a difficult position as if you slam the installer, you look like a sore loser. Just curious what you said to the owner.

    Only if it works correctly.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    mark schofieldMaxMercy
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,529
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    @ChrisJ True
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,751
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    When I clicked on the post I was expecting (and have seen) much worse.....not that it is right at all.

    Of course the old "nuthin bigger than 2" is common everywhere. Most don't have a threader larger than 2" and 2 1/2" copper cost more than 2 1/2 so that is always a given. The MFg doesn't know what he is doing 2" is plenty big enough LOL

    Look at the bright side, everything is decently straight, he used conduit (not supported and no box support) instead of draping bx, mc or worse romex to the boiler.

    He put it on blocks the gas pipe looks decent and it comes with a skim tapping........But sadly it was no more work to do it right than wrong just a few more$$$in material
    Long Beach EdCLamb
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,944
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    Uhhhhhh, Beavis.... huh-huh, huh-huh, huh-huh................
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,213
    edited December 2022
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    Ahh, Northern New Jersey.

    ...someone paid good money for that. Wouldn't have cost much more to do it right.
  • hadeone
    hadeone Member Posts: 63
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    Unfortunately, in NYC everyone is too stressed out and in too much of a rush to do a good job. You can pay up the booty and still have someone do it "good enough." It's driven me to learn and DIY plenty of times. At least if someone screws it up, it's me.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
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    When I clicked on the post I was expecting (and have seen) much worse.....not that it is right at all.

    That's partly my point. This isn't full-on terrible. It's just not good, or even technically right. I've recently started advertising in a new area and this is the steam guy around here. EVERYONE recommends this company when someone needs a boiler or troubleshooting.

    I was called because this house has 5 out of 19 radiators not getting steam. The boiler and the system's EDR match near perfectly. It's piping and venting that need to be corrected.

    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,213
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    Hey, at least the guy got some of it right. That's lots more than most.
  • FStephenMasek
    FStephenMasek Member Posts: 88
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    How to address the building owners - you just did it - print and show them this thread, and perhaps show them the instructions from the boiler maker.
    Author of Illustrated Practical Asbestos: For Consultants, Contractors, Property Managers & Regulators
    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,840
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    I was more thinking just the instructions.
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 522
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    JohnNY said:
    2" pipe. The manual calls for a 2.5" minimum diameter. The copper. The header. The Hartford Loop. I see this exact installation all over this particular town and it drives me nuts.
     ...A shame this company can mutilate so many systems and just keep rolling along without consequences . .
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 1,165
    edited December 2022
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    AAAAAYYYYYYYY CARAMBA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    LUCY, YOU GOT SOME SPLAINING TO DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,751
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    There is no way to hold the contractors feet to the fire. It's not a code violation to install a boiler larger than a building needs (maybe it will become an energy code violation).

    None of the boiler manufactures will not allow copper (especially with propress endorsing it for LP steam) even if they don't explicitly say so.

    So as long as they are no safety or code violations he's good to go.

    And lets face it. EVERYONE has a skeleton in the closet so no contractor is willing to blow up another contractor very often.

    I did it once and I ended up in court which I won but it cost ME time and money so was it worth it? Probably not because no one cares
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,859
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    There is no way to hold the contractors feet to the fire. It's not a code violation to install a boiler larger than a building needs (maybe it will become an energy code violation).

    None of the boiler manufactures will not allow copper (especially with propress endorsing it for LP steam) even if they don't explicitly say so.

    So as long as they are no safety or code violations he's good to go.

    And lets face it. EVERYONE has a skeleton in the closet so no contractor is willing to blow up another contractor very often.

    I did it once and I ended up in court which I won but it cost ME time and money so was it worth it? Probably not because no one cares


    You would think a contractor would be legally required to give the customer a properly working system though? If you buy a roof and it leaks, that obviously won't fly. Will it?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,840
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    Somewhere in the code is a clause that says it must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, so technically it has to follow the diagram in the manual, which can be an issue since there are other correct ways to do it.
    GGross
  • CLamb
    CLamb Member Posts: 290
    edited December 2022
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    @mattmia2 Here's what Section 1004.2 of The International Mechanical Code says,

    "In addition to the requirements of this code, the installation of boilers shall conform to the manufacturer's instruction. Operating instructions of a permanent type shall be attached to the boiler. Boilers shall have all controls set, adjusted and tested by the installer. The manufacturer's rating and the nameplate shall be attached to the boiler."
    mattmia2
  • Waher
    Waher Member Posts: 256
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    Burnham boilers now offer near pipe boiler kits:
    https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/catsy.782/MegaSteam+Near+Boiler+Piping+Kit+Data+Sheet.pdf
    If the manufacturers included near boiler piping kits as a required part of standard boiler sales, as the piping is necessary for the proper functioning of their boilers, it would be more likely that hack plumbers would get in the installations correct.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,751
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    @CLamb @mattmia2 @ChrisJ

    That's all well and good.....and true. But who enforces that? The local inspector? He doesn't really care and doesn't have time and may be part time in a small town. No boiler mfg says no to copper so you get no help from them as those type of installers fly in and out and typically sell more boilers than the good guys. the distributor only care how many boilers he sells as well.

    Like I said I blew the whistle once and it ended up costing me
    CLamb
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 863
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    I want to thank @JohnNY for posting these and other photos. I agree that there are many hacks out there that won't read the installation manual. I also must admit that these installers end up inadvertently sending us a lot of work. However, most of these improperly sized and improperly installed boilers seem to always pass inspection. I suppose the local inspector is there to see that the install is safe and the boiler turns on when there is a call for heat (at least here in NJ).

    However on most of our commercial and industrial jobs the state and or boiler insurance inspectors are more diligent. After all these inspectors are trying to prevent a claim for a cracked boiler, CO poisoning, overpressure situation, etc. Most of these inspectors are pretty thorough. The worst commercial installs we see are often at the sites that the owner never has inspections of any sort. We try to avoid these clients.
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,596
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    I'm guessing inspections aren't required for replacements?
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
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    SlamDunk said:

    I'm guessing inspections aren't required for replacements?

    I've never seen a NJ inspector comment on the quality of an installation...so long as all the safeties are in place. Though I've heard they don't like drop headers.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    ethicalpaulneilcMad Dog_2
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,751
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    In MA. there really is no permit for the "boiler". The gas & plumbing inspectors if a permit is taken out look at the venting, gas piping and testing, water MU and backflow inspection. If there is an electrical permit the electrical inspector looks at that only.

    If it's an oil boiler the local Fire dept inspects the tank, oil piping and burner,

    That's about it. The state doesn't look at any residential boilers just commercial usually above 500,000 btu and some commercial over 200,000 maybe it's 250k I forgot just to make sure they have a man reset limit and a 2d lwco

    That's it
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,757
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    My inspector in my N. NJ town didn't like my drop header for sure. He didn't like my water trap, he made me put the pigtail back on. He checked my flue pipe, my backflow preventer and probably several other things that he looked at but didn't mention. He never powered it up, didn't check to see if it fired up, nothing like that.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    JohnNY
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,859
    edited December 2022
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    JohnNY said:

    SlamDunk said:

    I'm guessing inspections aren't required for replacements?

    I've never seen a NJ inspector comment on the quality of an installation...so long as all the safeties are in place. Though I've heard they don't like drop headers.
    It's been 11 years now but the plumbing inspector I had didn't have an issue with the drop header or the king valves. He was an older guy, probably in his 60s.

    The electrical inspector seemed very good as well.

    Our town doesn't have their own guys so they use inspectors that do the entire area I think.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,113
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    Bad installations of heating and cooling equipment seems to be a re occurring theme mostly and commonly caused by wanting a cheap price , low prices and crappy work always go hand and hand . Personally I could start up my own website w the garbage I see . It s very rare to see jobs that are decent and thought out and done correctly w some thoughts of possibly skimming or wanding the boiler or to follow the manufactures piping diagrams this is beyond common . Most of these jobs are just slip in and usually lack from the installer any pride in what they do . Not all steam boiler installs need a drop header or water seals those are icing on a cake , what they do need is for the installer to understand what will be needed to be accessed in the future this is general completely forgotten . Most will be forgiving saying it’s a tough job and being under the gun truth be told that’s bull . I did one early this week Weil to peerless 63-03 started at 6:40 and was done by 230 driving home . Single 3 inch riser picking up 2 2 inch mains full 2 inch equilizer original piping was all cooper to the mains also figure in about 1 hour of flushing returns and cleanup ,mind u I’m not a young man I have some time on my clock but the bull lines most use for poor quality work is exactly that bull . Some my wonder if I’m pulling your leg on doing a steam replacement in 8 hours or less going in cold not even seeing the job before hand ,to anyone w experience and work ethic it is nothing ,now if your young and lack any work ethic then it’s a late night and loads of issues always comes from those who do more to avoid working hard then working hard in which case they should find a different career path . On finally note I do these w a guy who’s older then me at 64 so something just ain’t right w a lot of mech or maybe they ain’t real mech just guys to can pipe from one spot to another . The sweetness of lower price is soon forgotten after the bitterness of poor quality . Kudos to John for posting ,I personally don’t bother just way to much garbage and just about every one see no value until there buns are freezing and high fuel bills at which point there screwed and hope for a steam
    angle to appear mystically . First question and last question is how many have looked and how many prices have you gotten if it’s more then three I don’t even bother they will never see the value in quality plus I charge to look so that’s puts me right out of the equation which is pretty much fine by me . Again kudos to John and keep posting thrash lol
    Peace and good luck and safe and happy holidays
    Clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    JohnNYCLamb
  • Kickstand55
    Kickstand55 Member Posts: 110
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    My experience is "Price" always leads the sale along with charm, no matter what is explained to the customer.
    I have been on 5 jobs where a former employer got the installation, and all were wrong. I was there trying to get him to make corrections which created a whirlwind. Three were owned by one customer, one was a former Govenor.
    Trying to convince the customer the install was wrong despite lack of heat in areas, banging pipes, hissing and high fuel bills fell on deaf ears. Some people are loyal to the ones who give them the cheapest price and do the job in short time. Now they don't want to spend any more money, until a failure occurs. Not MY problem.
    The Dead Men were right!
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,596
    edited December 2022
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    I've had contractors quote me high prices before but they never gave me the feeling the quality would be so great that it was worth it.

    That is why you get multiple bids. My roof, gutter and siding replacement is a perfect example. Got a quote from the best roofer in town (in my opinion), been in business since 1915. Also got a quote from a guy who has been in business for just 20 years. I gave the job to the second guy who was just 2-3000 less the the first company. The second contractor insisted on covering the roof with OSB boards to protect the shingle warranty. The first one didn't and it wasn't included in his bid.

    But it wasn't just the price. This was my third re-roof. The second guy saw problems that have existed since I bought the house 30 years ago that I never mentioned to him. He knew the science of home building and roof systems and he had great solutions. And they worked!

    I was initially resistant to the OSB boards but he pointed out the 100 old tongue in groove planks are brittle and I probably have chunks missing where I can see the felt- he was right, I did. The nails wouldn't hold in high winds and the shingle manufacturer wouldn't warranty his product without the OSB or Plywood underlayment.

    So, yeah....I went with the cheaper guy. And I gave him a great review online.
    PC7060
  • CLamb
    CLamb Member Posts: 290
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    @CLamb @mattmia2 @ChrisJ

    That's all well and good.....and true. But who enforces that? The local inspector? He doesn't really care and doesn't have time and may be part time in a small town. No boiler mfg says no to copper so you get no help from them as those type of installers fly in and out and typically sell more boilers than the good guys. the distributor only care how many boilers he sells as well.

    Like I said I blew the whistle once and it ended up costing me

    For a professional to blow the whistle could be devastating but if an informed home owner can ask the inspector to reject it because it wasn't installed according to the manufacturer's instructions the home owner has a lot of leverage over the installer to do it right. Having more informed home owners would help.
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 514
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    ChrisJ said:

    The consequences are ultimately people get fed up, probably partially believe "It's just how steam is" and then pay someone to rip it all out and put in forced air.

    That is so true. When I joined this forum, I had never even seen a steam system and indeed didn't know they still made steam boilers. One of my earlier posts was wondering why people didn't just automatically rip steamers out and replace automatically. I got me an education that day I'll tell you!

    After reading hundreds of posts about steam heat, I know that steam systems can be efficient, quiet, and comfortable - but I also know they don't respond to careless design like a hydronic system will.

    If new steam installations are happening and being done incorrectly, it only adds to the negative stereotypes about steam heat that I believe many non-professionals believe to be true.