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Peerless Install

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Hi all. I'm in the middle of installing a Peerless 05L boiler, building a new header, and fixing a bunch of piping issues. Before I go much further, I have a couple of questions for the pros.

A little background - When we bought our current house a few years ago, the existing boiler was piped horribly, poorly maintained and looked to be on its last leg. It was sized about right for the radiation in the house at the time. During the first season, we found that the house was massively over radiated, as many houses of this era were - built in 1926, 3200sf, single pane steel casement windows with interior storms, spotty insulation. I did a manual j and came up with about 88k btu design day heat loss. Radiation was ~800sf EDR so a theoretical output of 192k btu. The whole house would consistently overshoot but some rooms were unbearable. We started shutting off superfluous radiators and found that the house still heated fine. We ended up with about 520sf EDR so the existing boiler rated at 733sf, became quite oversized and cycled on pressure more than I'd have liked. The vaporstat was set for 8oz cutout and 2oz cutin. Toward the end of last season, I noticed we were using a lot more water than normal. Filled the boiler to the risers and found a leak. There was a penny size hole near the top of one of the sections. Decided to buy a right sized boiler and fix all the piping issues in the house over the warm months. This is a Dunham vapor system and all the original piping that is still in tact is a work of art. Unfortunately, it's been hacked over the years. I'm slowly getting it all back to its original state.

I did steam and hot water work professionally for some years in my youth so I know how to spin a wrench, thread pipe and all that. Fortunately, I've held onto most my tools - 700 (Pony), 300, 141, 65r, 12r/00r drop ins, wrenches up to 48", and a bunch of other stuff. Never been able to part with them. I still maintain steam systems for a few rental properties and help friends out on occasion.

Sorry for the rambling...on to the questions-

1) Header Height - I piped up the header using nipples and mi fittings I had on hand (would rather have used domestic ci steam fittings everywhere but couldn't justify the cost - everything below the waterline is domestic ci fittings). The bottom of the header is about 30" above the max water line, about 20" above the top of the boiler. This is well above the manufacturer's 24" above waterline minimum standard but I know some here go higher if headroom is available. Also, I went with two 3" risers into a 3" header (overkill for the 05l I know) so velocity will be quite low - around 12fps. Wondering if I would get any drier steam by adding another 4-6" so I meet that 24" from the top of boiler standard many on here prefer.

2) Crossover Traps - I replaced the original Dunham crossover traps with B&J 122s when I bought the house. Steam gets to the end of the mains relatively quick. Don't have an exact time but within a minute of two of the header getting hot, steam gets to the end of the main. On one pipe systems, which I have the most experience with, I always tried to add as much main venting as possible but not sure how to approach this on a vapor system with crossover traps. The fittings on both the end-of-main and the dry returns are 1-1/4" bushed down to 1/2" for the traps. I have a few B&J Big Mouth traps left over from another project. I was thinking about building a 1-1/4" manifold and adding Two Big Mouths and the existing B&J 122 to each main. At 2oz, which is about what I average, that would give me about 6.6cfm vs the 1.8cfm with the 122 alone. It seems to me that these vapor systems would benefit from faster main venting the same as a one pipe systems would. Am I'm on the right track here? Is it worth the effort?

Image below of where I am so far.

Thanks in advance for any help.
WMno57Mad Dog_2Alan (California Radiant) Forbes

Comments

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,741
    edited September 2023
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    1. You made a drop header (interestingly not actually supported by Peerless), so your header height calculation is basically moot. You are fine.

    2. steam gets to the end of your main 1-2 minutes after it is at the header and you want to make it even faster? I'd think there were bigger fish to fry.

    PS: looking good, but a couple questions:

    Are those 2-1/2" supplies? If so that's good (the manual says dual 2" are fine). The manual does call for a 3" header, but I can't see it mattering in your case with that nice drop header and those dual supplies. I guarantee you won't see any water in that header.

    Is your supply coming off of your header just a single 2"? That seems too small for this boiler, but again i am confident it will be fine, but out of curiosity, what is the size of your main?
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    STEAM DOCTORAlan (California Radiant) Forbes
  • Brirob
    Brirob Member Posts: 20
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    Thanks for the response. One correction, it's 30" to the bottom of the first 90 at the top riser not the bottom of the header. I probably wouldn't have done a drop header for this boiler but I already had it built up from my old boiler so it just needed to be modified slightly.

    The risers out of the boiler tappings are 3" and so is the header so it's all 3" to the supply takeoff tees. There are two 2-1/2" supply takeoffs. The way it was originally piped, there was a single 3" supply that went into a reducer tee a few feet from the boiler and fed the two 2-1/2" mains. Both mains are 2-1/2" for their entire lengths. Original piping image is below. I decided to drop both main supplies back to the header.
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,741
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    Oh cool, I see the second supply coming off the header now, it was hiding!
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,122
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    You need a Job, sir?  Excellent so far...You're killing it.  Mad Dog 🐕 
    SuperTech
  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,177
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    Nice job, that piping arrangement looks mighty familiar!!
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
    NJ Master HVACR Lic# 4630
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving the residents of New Jersey
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/dl-mechanical-llc

    https://m.facebook.com/DL-Mechanical-LLC-315309995326627/?ref=content_filter

    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
    ethicalpaulMad Dog_2
  • Brirob
    Brirob Member Posts: 20
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    Thanks Dave! I imagine that piping arrangement does look familiar 🙂....saved a bunch of images of your installs for inspiration. That equalizer piping arrangement was quite tricky.
    Mad Dog_2
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,122
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    Ha ha...you see?? Anyone can do a stellar job if they take their time, imitate success and take pride in their work..We didn't invent this...The Deadmen did...In the early years, I learned the most about craftsmanship and pride on Renovations.  They'd gut the walls and reveal a Battery of 10 Water Closets with perfect precision wastes and vents, The Copper Crotons...picture prefect.  Same with an old Boiler that was piped carefully.  Artwork.  "Imitation is the greatest form of flattery."  Great looking job.  Mad Dog 🐕 
    mattmia2GGross
  • Brirob
    Brirob Member Posts: 20
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    Yeah, I totally agree. People much smarter than me figured this stuff out long time before I was born and people much more skilled than me are keeping these systems going and sharing their knowledge.

    Also agree on the pride and craftsmanship you find in these old houses. The housing stock around me, northern NYC burbs, is mostly pre-war and I've owned/renovated a number of them. The juxtaposition between work done back then (from pipe fitting, to plaster and lath still in perfect shape, to ci lead/oakum waste stacks that are still in service a century later, galvanized water lines that still don't leak, etc) and the hack work so common these days always amazes me.

    Someone convinced the previous owner of one of my rental houses to rip out his steam system and put in fin tube bb. The original 120 year old pancake boiler - coal>oil>gas conversion - was still there as was all the piping which was a work of art. It looks like a section of the wet return had rotted out so the contractor convinced him he needed to scrap the steam system. They put in a WM CGA5 98k btu mbh (heat loss for the house was about 45k btu) and 60' of fintube. So 98k BTUs going into 60' of fin tube which can put out about 36k btu. Only it wasn't 60' because they put tees in the downstairs loop to feed the upstairs loop...not monoflows, just plain copper tees. So no water circulated through the upstairs loop. Needless to say, it didn't work well and took me a long time and lot of work to rip it out and put in a functional hot water system. Amazing the quality of work you commonly see these days. I just wish they'd left system alone. I could of had that steam system running perfectly with a few days work, some pipe and some fittings.
    Mad Dog_2
  • Brirob
    Brirob Member Posts: 20
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    Got the second main tied in. Not super thrilled with that run but the alternatives included cutting/welding or removing a certain type of mineral insulation and running new pipe all the way back. That's crawl space behind the wall and the main is insulated with aircell all through the crawl space. The aircell is still in great shape so that won't be changing as long as I own the house.

    Mad Dog_2SuperTech
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,122
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    Your work is some of the Finest you'll see by a guy that doesn't do this every day and better than 90% of Professionals.  Outstanding work!  Mad Dog 🐕 
    BobCSuperTechmattmia2
  • Brirob
    Brirob Member Posts: 20
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    Thanks again Mad Dog!

    Had to take a break from it for a week but finally got it all finished up last week. The steam side is back to its former glory and works great. All the rads get hot at around the same time. I had to add more crossover traps to my longer main (almost twice the developed length of the shorter main) because it was taking about 10 mins longer for steam to get to the end of that main. Everything works great now.

    Unfortunately, the combustion side is not so good. When I put the CA on it last week, the initial numbers were quite disappointing. High excess air and O2 (98% ex air, 11% O2), low CO2 (5.5%) and slowly but steadily rising CO. I tested over the course of a 25ish minute burn and CO rose to about 70ppm but never stabilized.

    I have a tall interior chimney that pulls a strong draft - about .-07" wc after warmup. The chimney is ~40' from the breach to the cap. I thought maybe I was getting some flame impingement from the excessive draft and that was causing the wonky numbers. I added a 9" barometric damper I had on hand to try and bring the in limits but even with no weights, I could only get the draft down to -.045" -.05". After adding the baro, the numbers improved a bit (O2 and ex air dropped a bit and CO2 rose slightly) but still still out of range and CO af is still rising. Only choices to further reduce draft I could think of are add another baro (not really any space in the short smoke pipe) or add a neutral pressure point adjuster. We did that a few times back in the day for oil fired boilers with tall chimneys. So I went that route, added a neutral pressure point adjuster, and adjusted it to just under -.03". Numbers improved again but still not right and CO is still unstable and rising though not going quite as high. Here are the latest combustion numbers:
    Stack temp: 351.5
    O2: 10.9
    CO: 32
    CO af: 67
    Draft: -.028" wc
    Ex air: 96.5%
    CO2: 5.61%

    Manifold pressure is set to 3.5". I've gone down to 3" and up to 3.7" and the numbers really don't change appreciably. The one odd thing I noticed is that the pressure is not stable according to my manometer. It bounces around a good bit while I'm setting it. I have to use the avg function.

    Frustrated and out of ideas. Anyone have any suggestions?

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,635
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    Is the gas pressure stable when it is firing? Doe it only get wonky while you are actually adjusting it?
  • Brirob
    Brirob Member Posts: 20
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    No, it's not stable while it firing. It will bounce around from 3.43, 3.55, 3.48 etc. Never seen that happen before. Makes me suspect there may be something weird with the meter.
  • Brirob
    Brirob Member Posts: 20
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    I clocked the meter today which I should have done first. Boiler is rated at 206k btu. At 3.5" manifold pressure, I was getting 240k btu. Makes no sense unless the orifices were drilled wrong. I had to dial down to about 3.1" and now I'm just over 200k btu.  At least I think it's about 200k. I called the gas company and asked what the btu content per ccf is and the guy acted like I was asking him to explain quantum physics. I was on hold for 30 mins and he came back and said his tech said I needed a new meter if I'm installing a new boiler...without answering my question. I just went with 1036 BTUs.

    Anyway, after dialing the pressure down I got the CO af down in the 40s but it's still not stable. Excess air, O2, and CO2 are still pretty far off. This is what I'm getting now.

    Stack temp: 364.5
    O2: 10.6
    CO: 21ppm
    CO af: 43
    Ex air: 91.1
    CO2:  5.78
  • Dan_NJ
    Dan_NJ Member Posts: 247
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    I think when i was looking for btu content I wound up just using the gas company most recent tarriff filing which if i recall contained a range of BTU values for what they were delivering. Not too scientific but more productive than calling them directly.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,754
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    What is the inlet pressure? If the pressure in to the meter is low it won't clock right, it will over count because it works on volume, if the pressure is lower that volume contains a lower mass of gas than what the index is calibrated for(technically it measures the volume correctly but your conversion of cubic feet to btu will be incorrect).
  • Brirob
    Brirob Member Posts: 20
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    Thanks Dan_NJ...didn't think of that. I'll check that tariff sheet.

    Mattmia2- the inlet pressure is 7" wc almost exactly. With all appliances drawing, it's about 5.5".
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,754
    edited October 2023
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    Is there water or some sort of debris in the manifold or the inlet to the gas valve?

    Does the diagnostic dial move smoothly?
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,754
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    You could always try calling peerless too, i think you know enough that they wouldn't dismiss you as a homeowner, you know more than most of the professionals that call them. I think the draft hood is allowing all the air the vent will ever need and the barometric isn't doing anything, your problem is with the appliance somewhere.
  • Brirob
    Brirob Member Posts: 20
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    Yeah, I think you're right. It seems to be something with the appliance. The barometric was kind of a Hail Mary... thinking that excessive draft was causing impingement or something. I'll try calling Peerless. Also reached out to EzzyT today. He'll hopefully be able to come take a look when his schedule permits.
    mattmia2SuperTech
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,635
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    Maybe one of the burners got knocked out of position while moving the boiler. I guess i would probably pull the burners and the gas manifold and check for any debris and that the burners are set in the boiler properly.
  • Brirob
    Brirob Member Posts: 20
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    Always find it frustrating when these threads are left open ended with no clear resolution so thought I'd give a quick update. Finally got everything wrapped back in Nov.

    The combustion problem ended up not being a combustion issue. It ended up being an analyser issue. I had a friend bring over his recently calibrated analyser and we ran a combustion analysis. Showed 2-3 ppm undiluted CO. Excess air and O2 were still a bit high but that was because of the excess draft from this 40' chimney. We fiddled with the neutral pressure point adjuster and got draft down to about -.03" and excess air and O2 came down within limits. Not perfect but acceptable. The last test had the following results:
    Stack Temp: 400.3
    O2: 8.4%
    CO AF: 3ppm
    Ex Air: 59.6%
    CO2: 7.01%

    Sent my analyser out to be calibrated and they said the nox filter media in the co sensor had depleted and that's why I was getting the wacky co readings. All's well now and system is working great.


    GGrossSuperTechbburdmattmia2