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Help with NG Steam furnace replacement 2000sq foot 1930 Dutch Colonial

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Comments

  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,703

    pecmsg- Im in Southern CT - tried early on to get someone on here - but closest was Ma -

    Southern Ct is about 100 miles. Closer to NYC or RI?

    There are a lot of members near you that can help. Unfortunately, the busy season is rapidly approaching.
  • Grallert
    Grallert Member Posts: 638
    It sounds like - even if this drags on - that I am "safe" to use the system as is and not cave to any quick remedy
    You're safe You'll have heat so take a breather and take your time. You've got a bit of homework to do but it's interesting and there's no real due date.
    Miss Hall's School service mechanic, greenhouse manager,teacher and dog walker
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,671
    if this IS a counter flow,
    then pg 18 is the right page,
    and imma gonna catch a burn saying this, but,
    I'm not so sure it's as bad as a no header job could be,
    might even be, as @Jamie Hall says, "sometimes they work anyway",
    the riser flows to 2 drips, if the venting is good at the ends of the 2(?) mains , , ,
    didn't OP say it makes heat, and is quiet?
    have them add a propper skim nipple and cap, that's part of the install,
    OP, where in southern CT?
    known to beat dead horses
  • brokenfurnace
    brokenfurnace Member Posts: 28
    Thank you - I have the manual and the diagram -
    Oddly, the owner has still made NO contact w/us - I find this unnerving and strange and do not quite know what to make of it. I plan to write a letter tomorrow - w/pics of existing, inserting the diagram pg 17 and using your helpful insights here.
    In the interim I do have a local heating Co. in the wings sort of speak that are aware of the situation and willing to do a site visit, give us an estimate to fix this - of course I will ask for a detailed estimate. But first I must give the owner of this install an opportunity

    Please advise what I am seeing on this water gauge, especially the dark area above the clear water line and is it concerning - I put blue tape on the see if there are any fluctuations in water level. -
    For the record we did not "pluck" anyone off the street -

    I'm doing the best that I can in a storm of convergences of many things going haywire in my life and home and paying top $$$$$$ to hire "professionals" to fix them because I have no aptitude in this area.

    Thank you for being so helpful I am very grateful
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,707
    What you are seeing in the gauge glass is dirt and oils from manufacturing. The skin port (they didn’t install) is used to skim the oils off the top of the water after installation. If this isn’t done the boiler can start to surge after a while possibly throwing water up into the mains and then knocking can start.

    Procedure for this is on page 26, diagram for skim port location page 38. This should have been part of the install, this is standard procedure and should not be foreign to the contractor…if they have ever opened any boiler manual.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    mattmia2
  • brokenfurnace
    brokenfurnace Member Posts: 28
    thank you KC! More evidence
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 618
    edited October 2023
    Oh boy. I just read through this thread and am mortified for you! I imagine you have learned alot about steam since you started this journey. Do yourself a favor and figure out how to calculate EDR. It is simple to do by yourself and you don't have to be a professional.

    You just need to know the height and width of the radiator, the tube style, the number of tubes per section, and the number of sections. Here is a worksheet that makes it easy. Add up all your radiators and you'll know how much EDR you need and then you'll know how oversized your boiler is.
    https://smithfieldsupply.com/company_info/forms/radiatorest.pdf

    Post some pictures with dimensions and the pro's here would love to help. This is fun stuff. If the boiler is grossly oversized, more ammunition for you.

    Where in southern CT? There are excellent steam Pro's in Rhode Island and NY that handle parts of CT depending on where you are.
  • brokenfurnace
    brokenfurnace Member Posts: 28










    I just received an invoice by email for the final balance from the owner - Not a call, site visit/inspection - just email invoice

    I am in the process of writing a formal letter to the owner -

    I just noticed this previous post from KC

    Follow the steam mains until you get to the last radiator coming off them. Then does the main end with a cap, or does it turn down and head back to the boiler? The other "issue" determining what is actually needed relates to slope. Those drips are always required on counterflow, but not on parallel flow. That said, they don't hurt anything to keep them on a parallel flow system that I'm aware of.

    The whole discussion relates to slope and which way the pipes are sloping. If I was there as a contractor or even just a consultant I would have to put a level on all the pipes around the basement to see how things are going to be able to determine what you have. This also allows me to find any potential problem areas that need a correction to the slope.

    Counterflow the steam goes out to the system through the main, and condensate flows back to the boiler through that same main, the drip(s) gets the condensate back to the bottom of the boiler.

    Parallel flow the steam goes out tot he system through the main, and the condensate then flows back to the boiler through an over head return, wet return, or combination of the two. In the picture you just posted there is an obvious wet return coming from somewhere, but since you appear to have 2 mains, it begs the question of if that return services both mains, or just one.

    I posted pics to help solve this part of the riddle so we know exactly what type steam system this is -
    Is this "combination of the two"?

    So far I have outlined in my letter - I am also enclosing pg 17 of Manufacturer's install specs, pic of current install and close up of the water gage

    It appears that there are significant misses with this install

    -No header, colliding steam, bullhead T
    - The tee that the boiler riser is connected to actually shouldn’t even be there. Those mains should be brought down to the boiler header (which you don’t have) individually.
    - The drips on your mains need to be connected below the boiler water line. The piping arrangement is supposed to create separation between the mains to allow you to properly balance with venting. Also, with that tee there you have minimal if any slope for the condensate to properly drain.
    - no skim port installed

    ***Is this a combo system - I could not get all pics to show but there is a pipe that runs at apron 30" from basement floor around perimeter - it is covered in the finished side of basement** I hope the pics posted tell the story
    - Is what I outlined above still hold true?
    - are there any other issues I need to highlight?
    -
    Lastly, I know this was discussed and others said they would help - shall I measure and take pics of all rads and post here - Maybe this is a total due over? - I feel like that is a huge risk since owner has 1/2 $ as deposit so - unless he agrees to take existing out and refund - .... sounds like a slippery slope

    Thanks to everyone helping us solve this riddle!

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,469
    It looks like your vents are plastered in to the ceiling in that finished room(I think they are on the end of those small pipes that come straight up off the mains). The vents need to be in good condition for the system to work properly and efficiently and if they aren't closing they can damage the boiler over time because the steam that leaks through them will cause fresh water to go in to the boiler

    Where do the mains go after they go through the wall, at the end with the small pipes that are plastered in to the ceiling? Do they disappear in to that wall or do they come out the other side somewhere?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,707
    Pushing back on them about the sizing I would agree is a slippery slope since you agreed for a like for like size. If I was my house I would like to know, if nothing else for better understanding. I would also say that if the boiler is oversized, it will tend to cycle more on pressure. Many of us with properly sized boilers basically never cycle on pressure and run at extremely low pressures which just makes everything better IMHO.

    As far as system type, based solely on visuals in the pictures those mains do appear to slope in 2 different directions, but without putting a level on the pipes I can't really say with 100% certainty. The return pipe from the end suggests parallel flow, and it's possible the drips at the boiler were someone's idea of some kind of equalizer. If you want to check slope with a level let us know and we can explain what to check for, I won't get into it now unless you want to.

    With these better pictures I can also see the old Hartford loop connection is too long as well, a basic thing that the installer should have noticed. On page 17 it is specifically called out as a close nipple and yours looks more like its at least 10" long.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,707
    mattmia2 said:

    It looks like your vents are plastered in to the ceiling in that finished room(I think they are on the end of those small pipes that come straight up off the mains). The vents need to be in good condition for the system to work properly and efficiently and if they aren't closing they can damage the boiler over time because the steam that leaks through them will cause fresh water to go in to the boiler

    Where do the mains go after they go through the wall, at the end with the small pipes that are plastered in to the ceiling? Do they disappear in to that wall or do they come out the other side somewhere?

    ^^^^^This. Main vents are an integral part of system function. They need to remain accessible because the can and will fail over time and need replaced. Not only that, but typically they are undersized because of lack of knowledge. So you may need an upgrade even if they are working.

    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,703
    edited October 2023
    Time to call your attorney 

    ethicalpaulmattmia2
  • brokenfurnace
    brokenfurnace Member Posts: 28
    I went back and located pre -reno pics of the finished basement room - sorry the pics are dark but there are no "vents" the entire steam system is BELOW ceiling which is what I asked contractors to do

    KC - I am happy to put a level on the pipes - If you could direct me to what pipes - I think I have a long level and can place and take pics

    Thank you!!!




  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,707
    What we are all wondering is what is on the other side of this wall, how do those pipes end, or return back to the boiler. Based on what I'm seeing, behind that wall is where vents could be. the two circled in red appear to be the mains, the one circled in blue I'm assuming is a radiator feed.



    As far as the level goes. The pipes on either side of the boiler, need to see which direction they slope. Do they slope towards the house side of the mains, or towards the boiler. Then go out to about the middle of each main and check that slope, then go to the furthest end and check that slope. Make sure the level is tight to a straight pipe run. The bubble runs uphill, so whatever side the bubble is on, is the high side. Hopefully that all make sense, I'm not the most eloquent writer.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • brokenfurnace
    brokenfurnace Member Posts: 28
    Oh sorry - I should have included behind there

    Here is behind















  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,944
    Send the link email to spam. Use the remaining money to hire someone competent. Very simple. 
  • brokenfurnace
    brokenfurnace Member Posts: 28
    I only got the far Left RED circled one - behind the door
    The Right Red & Blue are in a crawl space that is nearly impossible to access - meaning - crawl on your belly thru a really small window - 20' or so to access
    That part of the house - was an addition - we assume in the 1950's - Presently this provides heat to one Rad in kitchen/small family room area
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,469
    Where do the pipes I circled go? They look like risers to vents between the joists.


  • brokenfurnace
    brokenfurnace Member Posts: 28
    Aha!

    Yes - blue circle on left - solved the "where is the vent" mystery
    the One on the right I am blocked by no access - But maybe tomorrow I can try flashlight from exterior crawl space access to see what that is -
    mattmia2
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,707
    I will post pics to show where to check for slope, marked red. These two places should help determine what is going on. I'm leaning towards it being parallel flow, and those drips may not be needed.





    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,671
    my money is still on counter at the boiler,
    transitioning to parrallel end mains,
    known to beat dead horses
    mattmia2
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,626
    edited October 2023
    But why would someone build a boiler that is counter at the boiler transitioning to parallel end mains?? Other than, someone got confused at some point?

    I mean, mine is counter at the boiler too because the house settled in the middle where the boiler is :joy:
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,707
    I'm speculating what is there is the "header" and "equalizer" set up from a really old boiler. It's not right, but that's my guess.

    If those pipes pitch away from the boiler, then those drip may not be needed. Just want to make sure the piping recommendations we give are correct since it seems the contractor needs to have their hand held on this one.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    CLamb
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,671

    But why would someone build a boiler that is counter at the boiler transitioning to parallel end mains?? Other than, someone got confused at some point?

    I mean, mine is counter at the boiler too because the house settled in the middle where the boiler is :joy:

    ceiling heights?
    big spread out house footprint?
    (2000sq foot 1930 Dutch Colonial)
    summer beams?
    ??
    we've seen it here before
    known to beat dead horses
  • brokenfurnace
    brokenfurnace Member Posts: 28

    Posting Pics
    # 1 Main over boiler - seems level across the expanse of pipe



    #2- Furthest Pipe in finished basement side - near basement slider window



    #3 - Closest pipe finished basement side


    #4 I added this last pic for reference purposes they have not been posted previously







    The house is ballon framed - not sure the relevance but thought I would add that
    Ceiling heights are all normal 8' 2"


  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,707
    It definitely looks like a parallel flow, and the pipes being almost level at the boiler isn't surprising. The Tee doesn't really allow anything to be pitched to any significant degree. I'd say if it get repiped properly (eliminating the tee) the contractor should look at pitch and determine if those drips could be eliminated. If it's determined they can not, at least make sure they aren't connected above the water line like they are now.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • brokenfurnace
    brokenfurnace Member Posts: 28
    Thank you KC!

    The original install-owner just sent me a bill for total balance owed - not a call or inspection of work
    I am working on scheduling another heating co to come out and go over existing and give a detail of what they believe needs to be done and their estimate