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Steam Boiler pressure set too high in apt buildings!! Help!

lukewatts Member Posts: 7
I'm currently coming across issues daily, in New York City, regarding apartments being too hot, I know, I know, it’s an age old issue, and steam TRVs not being effective in controlling the heat.
I always advise after, every time, discovering the boiler is set to 2.5psi and above (sometimes 5psi), to adjust the pressure down to below 1.5Psi (as a max), balance the system, vent effectively, assess steam traps etc.

But the answer is always the same… “if we turn the pressure down, the top apartments won’t get hot."

Obviously this is incorrect if the system is set up correctly, but this seems impossible to get across most of the time, especially to the old timer supers/building managers.

This issue is often more prevalent when we have a cold spell as their answer is always “let’s crank the pressure up!”.

Any ideas out there on how to better achieve getting this message across or am I flogging a dead horse and should just wait until the likes of “Local Law 97” is implemented?
Mad Dog_2


  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
    edited February 14
    I once visited a boiler room run by an engineer/technician who I respect a great deal. He knows a LOT about steam. And yet he had his boiler pressure control set to 5psi for basically the same reason you stated. I was rather shocked.

    I think fighting it would be very difficult unless you held some power or wanted to become a building super in order to test some things out.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • lukewatts
    lukewatts Member Posts: 7
    Thanks @ethicalpaul
    Yes, it's a frustrating one and seems to be so much worse in NYC from what I can tell. There's clearly plenty of cause for @DanHolohan's Lost Art book!!

    For me it's mostly down to communicating this to my customers and in turn their supers - which is, unfortunately, where the "deaf ears" usually come in to play.

    We know that living with steam boilers doesn't have to be uncomfortable. We also know that steam TRVs work, there is plenty of evidence proving this. But this is only the case when operating on well balanced systems.

    As I mentioned, hopefully this new Local Law 97 and it's compliance standards will force many hands.
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,944
    Luke. I see the same issues over and over.in NYC & Other Tri-state Big City buildings...It's a great feeling when you can turn their systems GREENER....Mad Dog 🐕 
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,738
    They don't know that they don't know, and you have to get them to admit they don't know before they will listen, this isn't a steam discussion, it's an ego discussion.

    Like it or not, egos ruin pretty much everything they come in contact with.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,961
    edited February 15
    I remember reading about this very common scenario in one of @DanHolohan articles decades ago and it has stayed with ever since
    While I haven't done it myself, I have suggested it to others.
    I believe that if you install something called a "Vapor-stat" on the boiler this problem might just go away.
    It can't be overly adjusted by every know-it-all Tom D**k and Harry that says they know what to do.
    I believe HoneyWell makes one. There might be others. Look into? See what you think.
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,257
    How many times do you guys hear that pressure is required to push condensate through traps?