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Steam Boiler replacement

Anthony D.
Anthony D. Member Posts: 63
Recently installed a Burnham IP-205. After running for a while the water level in the sightglass falls below the LWCO - yet the LWCO does not stop the boiler or initiate the make-up feed valve until the water is below the bottom of the sightglass, which is the lowest permissible water level. It does cut-out the boiler eventually, but I would think it should do it sooner. Could the boiler water line be a little higher in the boiler than in the glass?? Don't make sense! The boiler was packaged, and this probe type LWCO (MM P-802) came mounted on the boiler. I even took the control out to check it out and reinstalled (no tephlon).

Also, on a different note, I notice that I only seem to develop steam pressure when the water level is at the bottom of the sightglass, as soon as the condensate returns and brings up the water level to about a quarter glass - I loose the boiler pressure to nothing. Since the level of the boiler goes up and down gradually constantly the boiler pressure never seems to reach 1psi. I cranked the thermostat upto 90 degrees and ran it for an hour like this.
At first I thought I undersized the boiler, but I double checked my connected radiation, and came up again with 324 sq.ft. And since all the asbestos insulation was removed from the basement piping I multiplied the radiation by 1.5, then I multiplied this number by 240, then used this value to select the boiler by its DOE rating. Does this sound right?

Comments

  • Boilerpro_3
    Boilerpro_3 Member Posts: 1,231
    Sounds like you need to do some cleaning and

    make sure the piping meets the manufacturers piping specs. You are probably making wet steam and the water line is surging and making foam, keeping the low water cut off satisfied even when the water level is real low. Several skimmings and flushings should take care of it. Instructions on how to do this should be in the installation manual.

    Boilerpro
  • Anthony D.
    Anthony D. Member Posts: 63
    I installed the near boiler piping

    > make sure the piping meets the manufacturers

    > piping specs. You are probably making wet steam

    > and the water line is surging and making foam,

    > keeping the low water cut off satisfied even when

    > the water level is real low. Several skimmings

    > and flushings should take care of it.

    > Instructions on how to do this should be in the

    > installation manual.

    >

    > Boilerpro



  • Anthony D.
    Anthony D. Member Posts: 63
    I installed the near boiler piping

    as per the manufacturers specs. One 2" riser at least 28" above water level, and used an 1-1/2 equalizer. I don't see any foam in the sightglass, but the return lines were pretty dirty. I put a container of Crystal Clear water treatment in after about a week of operation.
    Just got a call today that two of the radiators are not getting hot. I'm on my way to check it out, hoping its just a couple clogged steam vents, since it's a one pipe system.
  • Anthony D.
    Anthony D. Member Posts: 63
    I'm back from the

    call, and found that two radiator steam vents had clogged. Probably from the stuff the chemical stirred up. I flushed out the boiler and return lines, and then skimmed the boiler from the relief valve tapping, until the water ran clean. When I restarted the boiler the water level was more stable, and the LWCO activated at a point just below its tapping. While I'm much happier with this, it still seems to take a long time to make steam! I'm mean its getting all the radiators nice and hot with any pressure on gauge. I afraid it will cost the home owner alot in gas if it runs this way.
    Was there anything I did wrong when sizing it as stated above on the 1st post?
  • Anthony D.
    Anthony D. Member Posts: 63
    Here's some more accurate information.

    I gave the wrong boiler number. It was a burnham PIN5. With a input capacity of 140k input, 115k DOE, 358 sq.ft. IBR steam output.
    THe header is exactly 24" above the normal water line (Spec's call for 24" min.), and a litte more than that from the actual level.
    One thing that I noticed was the header is slightly pitched back toward the boiler. Could this slow down the steaming process?
  • JM_2
    JM_2 Member Posts: 108
    I am not an expert

    But have watched this board for a few years. My system Burnham gas steam makes steam and heats all the rads fine. I almost never see my steam gauge move off of zero. Check how long it takes for the return lines to get hot. I they are hot in a few min then its probably fine.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,733
    You may have a venting problem

    did you replace the main vents when you replaced the boiler? What vents are there now? How long is each main, and what pipe size?

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    All Steamed Up, Inc.
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  • Anthony

    If you are concerned about whether the boiler is performing properly, check the gas input pressure before and after the gas valve with a manometer. We require a minimum of 4.5" w.c. on the incoming side and 3.5" w.c on the manifold side while the gas appliances are running.If this is not up to standard, the cause may be not enough volume (pipe size to meter) or not enough pressure from the meter. Clocking the gas meter one cubic foot dial per instructions in the I&O manual will also confirm your input. As Steamhead also said, you do have to vent properly to get the steam through the system. Take a real good look at that also. Hope this helps.

    Glenn Stanton

    Burnham Hydronics
  • Anthony D.
    Anthony D. Member Posts: 63
    yeah I replaced one

    of the two main vents (Hoffman #4A Main vent), the existing one is working.
    There's two 2" main runs coming off the header and going around the basement. There about the same length (30ft each)
    I checked all the rad. vents and they all work (they are Vent-Rite model #1 adjustable)

    If it was a venting problem how would that prevent the pressure to build? I would think the pressure would build faster with clogged vents!
  • Anthony D.
    Anthony D. Member Posts: 63
    We checked the manifold

    pressure at start-up and it was 3.5"w.c.

    How long should it take to steam?
    It seems to get steam pretty quickly, but doesnt produce pressure. It seems as if the boiler is having a hard time keeping up with the load!

    Before I clean the system, I was able to get the pressure upto the 2psi cut-out, but only when the water level was just about below the sightglass. As soon as the return water brought the level up it would instantly lose pressure, which I could understand since the cooler return water would in effect cool the boiler water. But even if the level stayed low and the pressure would reach cut-out the pressure would instantly dissapate. Maybe I'm under-estimating how long the entire system (radiators, uninsulated piping and boiler) takes to get up to a temperature that won't steal so many btu's??
  • Anthony

    It's not so much how fast the boiler can make steam as it is how effeciently it can accomplish the task. If the boiler is sized correctly and the mains and radiators are venting correctly, it will happen effeciently. Throw into that equation a boiler that has dirty or oily water and you lose a lot of that efficiency in making steam. I would suspect that you have some of the latter going on also. Hope this helps.

    Glenn
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,733
    Uninsulated Piping

    is part of your problem. The steam is condensing in the mains before it ever reaches the radiators. You'll see a dramatic difference when you insulate them. I like to use fiberglass pipe insulation with 1-inch wall thickness.

    Those Hoffman 4A vents are too small to let the mains fill with steam quickly. I'd use two Gorton #1 or Hoffman #75 vents on each main. The Gortons are of the same quality as the Hoffmans but cost much less.

    To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Jay_6
    Jay_6 Member Posts: 4


    Yes I believe that if your header is pitched back towards the Main riser that could give you some problems.It should be pitched down towards your equalizer.I suppose that there is the possiblity that the condensate from the header is dripping back into the steam head.Anybody have any thoughts on this?
  • Anthony D.
    Anthony D. Member Posts: 63
    When I selected the boiler

    I did so with uninsulated piping in mind. That is why I multiplied the heating surface by 1.5 (to account for the extra piping loss) then multiplied by 240. I used this value to select the boiler by it's DOE rating, since the 1.5 should have included the losses for the IBR rating.

    Thanks for the advice on the main vents, but again, how would the rate of air removal effect the steam pressure?
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