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Gravity fed boiler OLD

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pipers
pipers Member Posts: 21
So today I saw an American Radiator & Standard Sanitary Corp, Old gravity fed boiler system without a PRV, no low water cutoff,no manual reset aquastat, no roll out no spill switch hardly any safety at all only one regular aquastat but what disturbed me was there are two pilots on the burner one is coming off a baso safety with a thermocouple, but the other one had no protection and I found that one spewing gas I checked that it wasn’t dangerous and lit it up I’m going include a few pictures off the boiler and some of the pilot ….and is this normal for old boilers like this

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  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 918
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    Where is the expansion tank? Older gravity systems usually had an open tank in the attic, vented to atmosphere. Frequently they were converted at a later time to closed tanks, which require a pressure relief valve on the system.

    Bburd
    Mad Dog_2mattmia2
  • random12345
    random12345 Member Posts: 469
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    Is the rust-colored stuff on the top of the boiler in picture 0432 indicative of back drafting?
    pipers
  • pipers
    pipers Member Posts: 21
    edited May 2023
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    No that is rust i think it condenses a bit in the summer when not in use because of those giant pilots
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,653
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    That rollout is an issue although it could be delayed ignition if one of the pilots wasn't lit. there are dual thermocouple versions of the baso switch. it should have that although maybe they didn't do it that way back then.
    bburd
  • pipers
    pipers Member Posts: 21
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    I believe they they weren’t to concerned with that back then they figured the gas would just go through the chimney since natural gas rises but I will be suggesting the dual baso thanks
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,653
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    I think the gas would find the other pilot before you had a significant explosion but both pilots should be proven.

    You need to make sure whatever is causing that scorching is fixed.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,653
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    It looks like there isn't a 2 thermocouple switch form Baso, you would have to add a second one and wire them in series so they have to both be closed to operate the main burner. There is a 2 thermocouple safety valve, but not a switch.
    pipers
  • pipers
    pipers Member Posts: 21
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    We are working on a plan for it
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,785
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    It is an old system , that was normal for the time . They figured the second pilot would light once there was a call for heat . Could it be better ,sure ... What would be nice is a new properly sized boiler . Do a heat loss calculation to figure the right size . A smaller properly size boiler on a gravity system would add comfort and fuel savings . Back when that boiler was replaced they thought bigger was better . All you need is a boiler big enough to heat the house on the coldest day of the year . With all that mass the beauty is the system temperature would reach to what is needed on that given day . Like a out door reset . Slower boiler build up works best on your system .. Remember coal was used originaly ..
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
    bburdpipers
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 905
    edited May 2023
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    No one thought about safety in those days, staying warm was the greatest concern. Units installed like that ran forever. Prior to that boiler they used coal and what safeties do you have with coal, a relief valve and a whistle to indicate both high and low water. It was common, in schools and large buildings to see a National US with 5,000,000 btu's input with 10 pilots and only 1 or 2 being supervised with a Baso switch.
    pipers