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One Pipe Heating Boiler Piping Evaluation

spawn
spawn Member Posts: 16
Hi, I'm new here and wanted to ask if I could get an evaluation on my boiler setup and piping. Any help would be appreciated.










Comments

  • spawn
    spawn Member Posts: 16
    I was hoping since the control was set correctly that it meant the last guy had some idea of what they were doing. Would you say this is a homeowner problem, other than the obvious asbestos insulation, or a call a qualified professional problem?
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,188
    Can I guess that you have some heating problems?
    spawnmattmia2
  • spawn
    spawn Member Posts: 16
    I'm not sure if that was meant sarcastically, but yes I do have heating issues. Lots of banging on startup, dirty boiler water, bad vents, improper insulation, most likely bad piping. Idk trying to determine where to start
  • Gsmith
    Gsmith Member Posts: 431
    Call a pro, see listings on this site
    spawn
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 872
    edited January 2023
    Whoever piped that boiler did not follow trade standards or the manufacturer's minimum near-boiler piping requirements in the installation manual. As a result, instead of sending dry steam to the system, the boiler is sending wet steam and water, causing the problems you've experienced. The only fix is to re-pipe it unfortunately.

    That is the main issue, though there may be other problems as well.

    Bburd
    spawnethicalpaulHenry
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,554
    That appears to be a Crown boiler. That boiler comes with a diagram of how to put it together, The diagram even has the pipe diameters and lengths and a picture of where each one fits. You need to be a real ****** to get it wrong. Here is the diagram that comes with your boiler
    You need a professional that knows how to read instructions.
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
    spawnethicalpaulHenry
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    Positives: Ptrol looks about OK, 2 main air vents (hopefully on the returns) in place but probably too small if working at all........otherwise.....

    Download the install manual for that model, there are piping diagrams and more.
    spawn
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,312
    @spawn

    Unfortunately, the installer knew little about steam and the boiler will never heat properly without noise or banging.

    Best bet is to check "find a contractor" on this site & post your location someone may be able to recommend someone in your area.

    If you strike out with that I would visit the local supply house that sells Crown Boilers and see if they can recommend a contractor who really knows steam.
    spawn
  • spawn
    spawn Member Posts: 16
    Thank you everyone for the insights, I'll be looking for someone in my area to take a look and see what they can do. It seems the previous owner had a habit of going cheap on repairs and replacements.
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 618
    At least it will only get better from here! Wait until you calculate your EDR and compare it to your boiler's capacity. I wouldn't be surprised if it is waaaaaay off based on how the previous owner and installer mangled up the install.
  • spawn
    spawn Member Posts: 16
    The old boiler that was replaced, still taking up space in the basement, compared to the new above. I wouldn't be surprised seeing that the new boiler was downgraded 15000 btu/hr if I understand the labels correctly.
  • spawn
    spawn Member Posts: 16
    Would replacing the vents on the mains with newer equipment help in the meantime? They look to be vintage. One an addition added later is a vacuum vent #4 and the main vent is also a vacuum vent 822.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,554
    Interesting. Was the old one installed incorrectly also? Was this new Crown supposed to fix all the problems the old Weil McLain had? If the old Weil McLain was not leaking, save it! There is most likely nothing wrong with it, that proper piping could not fix. (unless it was leaking)
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
  • spawn
    spawn Member Posts: 16
    I'm not sure why in particular the old boiler was replaced, I'll have to ask the PO.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    IMO, best guess is that was a leaker.
    From looking at everything else the PO would not have changed anything unless he had to.
    Long Beach Ed
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,092
    From the looks of it ,if it does work at all it’s a miracle . I would not be shocked if it banged and hammered every time it’s running . I would guess if you just moved in then the home inspector is legally blind . I would say from the install no price would be cheap enough to warrant such poor work and lack of experience in installing a steam boiler it’s not brain surgery . That piping also looks to have a counter flow main pitched back to the boiler ,which if done correctly would have a drip to the wet return not back into that make believe header. Your boiler needs to be repipe correctly if you would like it operate properly also included in this re do would be new main and radiator vents being it’s piped like such crap I would image every radiator vent is either as old as the house and or not functioning properly . The real tell tale is the old boiler is still there no contractor worth 2 cents would leave the boiler and pipe a new one that crappy . Unless a real cheap home owner thought he would save 2 cents and remove it himself lol till he found out it’s a lot heavier then it look so again lol . Before you go to nuts find yourself a semi pro who will at a mim follow the installation instruction or find a real steam guy who will straighten out your near boiler piping ,main vents and radiator venting ,and all that good stuff every body over looks again and again . I de worry about the pipe insulation after your boiler is piped correctly producing dry steam other wise you will be wasting your money on main and radiator venting for nothing. You really need to get that boiler repiped for any chance of proper operation and comfort or just rip it out and have some tools install a hot air system but then again they will screw that up also .
    Sorry to say you are not alone there’s always way more improperly installed steam boiler then any thing else I see mainly because #1 most have no idea what there looking at and #2 there afraid that if they do it correctly it will cost to much and they will not get the job so they get the job and do a totally **** job and then state well that’s the ways steam works ,there full of it .
    Find a pro and pay the fiddler if there a pro they will re pipe it properly and get it working properly including wanding and skimming the boiler , installing and or adding main venting to end of the mains or end of the dry returns . The only thing you will get out of a steam boiler piped like yours is noise ,little heat and high gas bills and zero comfort ,it’s a quite common things w poorly installed steam boiler . Ps crown in my book is the low bidders boiler they always are installed like garbage anyone who takes installing steam boilers serious wouldn’t pass by using one unless under the customers request
    Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    spawnJohnNY
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,188
    Any more old boilers tucked away down there?

    As Clammy says, that's a sign.
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 840
    @clammy I could not help but notice your comment on Crown boilers. We see the same thing with Crown and Utica steam boilers in my area. Almost always installed incorrectly, with single short two inch riser (copper or sometimes steel) regardless of boiler size or actual load, and never any real drains at the low points. I cannot blame the homeowners as most trust the installer to choose the brand of boiler, water heater, thermostat, etc.

    I always wondered what these contractors did with all the money they saved on the installations???
    JohnNYMad Dog_2
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,188
    edited February 2023
    I always wondered what these contractors did with all the money they saved on the installations???
    They gave the low bid.
    mattmia2Mad Dog_2
  • spawn
    spawn Member Posts: 16
    clammy said:
    I de worry about the pipe insulation after your boiler is piped correctly producing dry steam other wise you will be wasting your money on main and radiator venting for nothing.

    By wasting my money do you mean any new vents installed will be damaged by the system as it currently operates?

    FWIW it does some to heat fine considering your observations other than the addition. Only noise on startup. I did purchase a big mouth but haven't installed it. That is why I asked if the system running wet if I understand correctly will damage it.

    I'm hoping to limp out of this heating season and have things corrected before the next. Once again thank you everyone for your help and advice. I very much appreciate you donating your time and energy to help me with my problem. It goes to show what kind of forum this place is.
  • spawn
    spawn Member Posts: 16
    Any more old boilers tucked away down there? As Clammy says, that's a sign.

    Just the one and I have no idea how you guys move old equipment. Best I can figure is a winch and a snatch block to drag it out of the basement.
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,188
    edited February 2023
    Best I can figure is a winch and a snatch block to drag it out of the basement.
    They come apart. You remove the jacket and chisel the iron 100-pound sections apart, like a loaf of bread. Carry them up the stairs separately. Maybe two at a time if you're a real man. Not bad, just a half day of dirty work.
    mattmia2
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,226
    I realize I'm late to the party here, but I have to ask...

    Is this a real post?
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
  • spawn
    spawn Member Posts: 16

    JohnNY said:
    I realize I'm late to the party here, but I have to ask... Is this a real post?

    Yes, why do you ask?
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,092
    The reason I say changing main and radiator vents would not give you any drastic improvements being the boiler is piped incorrectly . The way it’s piped it only producers wet steam , main vents and radiator vents do not perform at there best when the steam being produced is not dry ,the main vents like a big mouth will not close completely and may spit water while your radiator vents may spurt water and or become water log and not function . As many times as it is echoed with a properly piped boiler piped to the mim the manufacture suggested diagrams the boiler will create dry steam with out being piped correct it will never perform as original designed and performance will never be as it should , steam is very forgiving and usually will function so so w poorly piped boilers but never what it should be and fuel bills are tied directly with the quality of steam the boiler produces ,the better it’s piped the dry the steam the higher your comfort level and the lower you fuel consumption . Poorly piped steam boiler always use more fuel provide less comfort and are usually out of balance due to the wet steam never making it out to the rest of the system and to the radiators due to constantly folding back into condensate, sooner or later everything gets hot but never in a timely manor as a correctly piped steam boiler producing dry steam would do .
    There’s always a huge difference in price and quality of those who have put in there time and have 20 or 30 years of installing and repair steam system not some sob that does repairs in copper ,does not read installation manuals and does not follow simple piping diagrams it’s that simple ,there is no comparison between the 2 it’s a day and nite comparison ,aside from the boiler being there a complete it s re pipe re do . There’s only so much that guys like myself can do those who see no value in what we say and do and charge and have some tool w no idea do the install and then suffer and complain , only to call back and except a cheaper price to re do it’s too funny . I understands the boiler install was not your doing and was the last owner but anything short of a proper repiping will yield little or no drastic improvements to your situation .
    Sorry to sound rash but as ya get older every body becomes grouchy and less tolerate to bull include poor quality and half butted work and the constant of people wanting the cheapest of work especially on things that are not seen except felt . As I get older I only fight the good fight and those who see no value well that’s fine there s always a flat rater in the wings ready to do you a a la cart ,one piece at a time who knows what type of quality you will receive but they will always make money then myself and unlike me they usually will never return unless there more flat rate money to be made .
    Sorry for the morning rant I made strong coffee lol
    Peace and good luck Clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    Long Beach EdPC7060spawn
  • NYtimebomb
    NYtimebomb Member Posts: 30
    spawn said:



    JohnNY said:

    I realize I'm late to the party here, but I have to ask...

    Is this a real post?

    Yes, why do you ask?


    It's because of how bad the piping is. This is my second heating season with steam, second season on the forum. Boy did I learn quickly. I am just a home owner, not a professional, but my jaw dropped at these pics.
    Keep learning here. Understand your limits. If you can't do the work yourself, do your damned-est to make sure the person doing it is doing it right!
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,723
    @spawn , this will require "sawzall surgery". Where are you located? We might know someone.........
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    spawn
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 1,051
    edited February 2023
    Eeeeeewwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If it was me I would hire an asbestos removal firm to come in and clean that mess up and then you need a steam licensed plumber to come in and cut ALL that copper that mess out and plumb in steel pipe and the second riser and a drop header with threaded steel pipe and replace the bad vents and add new vents where they are needed drain and flush the boiler out and skim it as well.
    Your radiators probably need new vents and valves too.
    spawn
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,701
    If you're in NY, We will come to you to diagnose. Mad 🐕 Dog. 
    spawn
  • spawn
    spawn Member Posts: 16
    Mad Dog_2 said:

    If you're in NY, We will come to you to diagnose. Mad 🐕 Dog. 

    Unfortunately I am no where near NY
  • spawn
    spawn Member Posts: 16
    edited February 2023
    leonz said:

    Eeeeeewwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If it was me I would hire an asbestos removal firm to come in and clean that mess up and then you need a steam licensed plumber to come in and cut ALL that copper that mess out and plumb in steel pipe and the second riser and a drop header with threaded steel pipe and replace the bad vents and add new vents where they are needed drain and flush the boiler out and skim it as well.
    Your radiators probably need new vents and valves too.

    I recently learned about drop headers and that looks like what they should have done in the first place. I'm thinking the copper returns were from an older repair/refit. Most of the vents have been replaced and I have drained and flushed a good amount of gunk out of the boiler. After doing that it has stayed at the level it's supposed to be at and all water hammer has disappeared probably due to an overfilled system.

    So far the system is working pretty well considering what has been said here. The addition now heats up as fast as the rest of the house but I have a suspicion it can be made even better after the return lines are cleaned. As I said before I will search around my area for someone to repipe my system.

    Edit: Removed discussion of price
  • spawn
    spawn Member Posts: 16
    Steamhead said:

    @spawn , this will require "sawzall surgery". Where are you located? We might know someone.........

    In the midwest, the largest cities would probably be Chicago / Milwaukee
  • spawn
    spawn Member Posts: 16

    spawn said:



    JohnNY said:

    I realize I'm late to the party here, but I have to ask...

    Is this a real post?

    Yes, why do you ask?
    It's because of how bad the piping is. This is my second heating season with steam, second season on the forum. Boy did I learn quickly. I am just a home owner, not a professional, but my jaw dropped at these pics.
    Keep learning here. Understand your limits. If you can't do the work yourself, do your damned-est to make sure the person doing it is doing it right!

    All I'm learning is that I'm gonna need a bigger pipe wrench, lol. Kidding aside it's neat learning about old technology that you don't see much if ever.
  • spawn
    spawn Member Posts: 16
    clammy said:

    The reason I say changing main and radiator vents would not give you any drastic improvements being the boiler is piped incorrectly . The way it’s piped it only producers wet steam , main vents and radiator vents do not perform at there best when the steam being produced is not dry ,the main vents like a big mouth will not close completely and may spit water while your radiator vents may spurt water and or become water log and not function . As many times as it is echoed with a properly piped boiler piped to the mim the manufacture suggested diagrams the boiler will create dry steam with out being piped correct it will never perform as original designed and performance will never be as it should , steam is very forgiving and usually will function so so w poorly piped boilers but never what it should be and fuel bills are tied directly with the quality of steam the boiler produces ,the better it’s piped the dry the steam the higher your comfort level and the lower you fuel consumption . Poorly piped steam boiler always use more fuel provide less comfort and are usually out of balance due to the wet steam never making it out to the rest of the system and to the radiators due to constantly folding back into condensate, sooner or later everything gets hot but never in a timely manor as a correctly piped steam boiler producing dry steam would do .
    There’s always a huge difference in price and quality of those who have put in there time and have 20 or 30 years of installing and repair steam system not some sob that does repairs in copper ,does not read installation manuals and does not follow simple piping diagrams it’s that simple ,there is no comparison between the 2 it’s a day and nite comparison ,aside from the boiler being there a complete it s re pipe re do . There’s only so much that guys like myself can do those who see no value in what we say and do and charge and have some tool w no idea do the install and then suffer and complain , only to call back and except a cheaper price to re do it’s too funny . I understands the boiler install was not your doing and was the last owner but anything short of a proper repiping will yield little or no drastic improvements to your situation .
    Sorry to sound rash but as ya get older every body becomes grouchy and less tolerate to bull include poor quality and half butted work and the constant of people wanting the cheapest of work especially on things that are not seen except felt . As I get older I only fight the good fight and those who see no value well that’s fine there s always a flat rater in the wings ready to do you a a la cart ,one piece at a time who knows what type of quality you will receive but they will always make money then myself and unlike me they usually will never return unless there more flat rate money to be made .
    Sorry for the morning rant I made strong coffee lol
    Peace and good luck Clammy

    I can imagine your frustration with people taking the cheap way out and then being surprised that the cheap way ends up being the expensive way. I have a feeling the last guy did know what he was doing and did it the cheap way to mollify the previous owner. Other "improvements" I've come across in the house are starting to paint a picture of the types of choices the PO made. I have a lot of work ahead of me aside from the boiler but that's not the point of this particular discussion.
  • NYtimebomb
    NYtimebomb Member Posts: 30
    FYI it's a no-no to talk prices on the forum. BUT if you do get yourself a quote all the other aspects can be discussed.
    Good to hear it is performing better after the clean out.
    spawn
  • spawn
    spawn Member Posts: 16
    edited February 2023

    FYI it's a no-no to talk prices on the forum. BUT if you do get yourself a quote all the other aspects can be discussed.
    Good to hear it is performing better after the clean out.

    Thanks for the heads up, I edited my comment.