Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

new steam boiler issues

gerry gill
gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
where is the swing joint to keep from breaking the boiler? and the rule of thumb is the header should be sized to equal the cross sectional area of all the takeoffs, and it looks like you have two takeoffs..the old hoffman data book was even more conservitive..it said the header had to be equal to the cross sectional area of the takeoffs then increased one pipe size..in either case, where is the swing joint?

<A HREF="http://www.heatinghelp.com/getListed.cfm?id=360&Step=30">To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"</A>
gwgillplumbingandheating.com
Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

Comments

  • Kim Smith
    Kim Smith Member Posts: 12
    new gas fired steam boiler issues

    I have been reading your website searching for some guidance on the quirks our new system is presenting. We replaced an 83 year old boiler with a new HB Smith Series 8 fired by a gas-fired Carlin burner. It seems to be making steam just fine but we are experiencing some uneven heat problems with some radiators not getting hot, some H2O hammer and some finicky radiator response...slow to heat unless system is running for lengthy period of time~especially on the second floor! It is a two pipe system which I have been told had a vacuum pump that was inadvertently removed prior to new install. We think this may be the source of our problem but our plumber seems less than confident and is only recommending increasing the size of the return lines in the basement. From everythin I have read it sounds like we have a problem with condensate in the returns. He is also saying that we don't have traps in our radiators but I could have sworn that I read on this site that all two pipe systems have traps. We are very frustrated and will be looking to get a second opinion from a professional listed through this site. However, any input/suggestions/direction would be greatly appreciated. FYI..we are fairly confident that the system was sized right as they did measure radiators etc...also the installer was an HB Smith employee doing a side job so I'm confident it was piped correctly. I'm looking forward to advice and on hearing if anyone out there knows of a reliable steam guy in Western Massachusetts that they can recommend! Thanks
  • Your plumber is right when he says

    not all 2-pipe systems have traps. If you can take pictures of some radiators and the boiler and related piping and post them here, also see if you can find any manufacturer's info on the original radiator shutoffs, radiator return connection fittings and any odd-looking lumps of iron installed in the piping near the boiler, that would help us ID your system.

    I don't necessarily agree that increasing the return sizes would help. What gets me is when they say something was removed. Depending on your system, this could have caused your problems. Vacuum pumps weren't used much in residential systems, but a lot of other devices were.

    Massachusetts has plenty of good steam men- try the Find a Professional page of this site to locate one near you.

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Kim Smith
    Kim Smith Member Posts: 12
    new boiler issues

    Thank you to steamhead for the clarification on the two pipe traps issue. I will take some pics and try to get them here tomorrow. From what I know the original boiler was also an HB Smith...coal fired. The radiators we have are 3 different types...your typical iron stand up kind and the info on the control is Capitol Brass Works out of Detroit. The other type rad is smaller and kind of hangs from the wall not touching the floor. The third kind are the fin kind built into the wall in the living room and dining room and office. They are American Standard. ~Okay...I found the original 1928 specs for the house. The system was an HB Smith 3-27 described to heat house to 70 degrees at 0 temp on eight hour fire. All rads described to be "new type". The only other point that refers to the system is that it was to be "slit circuit drip return on all mains"...thanks again!
  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    paying twice

    WHEN you hire a moonlighter you usually always pay twice or three times so strap in you may be going for a ride on the cyclone. when you gotta hire someone to fix what the first guy did is is not good.
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    please post a picture

    of the fitting on the opposite side of the radiators valve..any markings on this fitting? what pressure is the current set up running at?

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • Kim Smith
    Kim Smith Member Posts: 12
    it wasn't a vacuum pump, it was a vacuum tank!

    I just spoke with my plumber again...who apparently has Mr.Holohan's book...good sign I think. Anyway he clarified that it was a tank not a pump that got removed.
    and to all of you who are shaking your heads...yes I know in hindsight the whole side job thing may have been begging for problems but the installer was very reputable and worked for a good friend of ours...yes we may pay for this mistake but at the time it seemed okay...I guess ignorance is bliss.
  • Kim Smith
    Kim Smith Member Posts: 12


    Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be any markings. On the hanging radiators there is a symbol that is hard to make out as there is paint on all our rads. It looks kind of like a T and a P linked together. I will try to post pics tomorrow. Thanks
  • Kim Smith
    Kim Smith Member Posts: 12
    system is currently set at \"2\" on the pressuretrol

    Originally was set at 3 and our plumber turned it down to 2. Typo on last post regarding the system. It was to be "split circuit drip return on all mains".
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    my gut instinct

    tells me your system should be operated in a vapor state, not under pressure..

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • \"Vacuum Tank\"

    again could be a number of things, from a Broomell receiver to a separating chamber- pics of the system please!

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • will smith_5
    will smith_5 Member Posts: 2
    Moonlight or daylight

    Doesn't matter what time of day you do something wrong-it's still wrong.
  • Kim Smith
    Kim Smith Member Posts: 12
    posting pictures

    Can someone give me directions as to the easiest way to post pics here. I am new to posting pictures and would like to get them up as I am receiving some helpful advice and would greatly appreciate further guidance...as would my plumber. Thanks
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    first get the pictures on your computer

    then click on attachments on the lower left of the thread reply box..then locate the picture, click add and it should work..

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • Kim Smith
    Kim Smith Member Posts: 12
    Pictures of the new system

    Here are the pictures of the new HB Smith Series 8 with gas burner,some radiators and misc. piping for review. All comments/feedback welcome. Thanks!
  • Kim Smith
    Kim Smith Member Posts: 12
    Pictures of the new system

    Here are the pictures of the new HB Smith Series 8 with gas burner,some radiators and misc. piping for review. All comments/feedback welcome. Thanks!
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    thats a vapor system...

    it sould be running under just an ounce or two of pressure..i'm not familiar with that burner but unless it modulates your going to overshot the pressure and the pressuretrol control on the boiler will let it do just that..at the very least a vaporstat should be installed..the header looks wrong and to small also..check the manual..

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • Kim Smith
    Kim Smith Member Posts: 12
    reply to gerry

    Thanks Gerry...I will share that feedback with my plumber who was anxious to hear what others thought. The burner is a Carlin EZ Gas burner. Thanks again...any insight as to why there is a varied response from my radiators? Like I said...some of them are working great yet the three that we had to temporarily disconnect during our master bedroom renovation aren't responding at all.
  • Kim Smith
    Kim Smith Member Posts: 12
    one more question for tonight!

    What is the difference between a pressuretrol and a vaporstat...the amount of pressure it allows? I just want to know what I am talking about. Sorry to be so full of questions but clearly if I had only done this level of research prior to my new install I may not have been in this boat. Thanks.
  • I see one problem right away

    In the boiler room, where the return line drops toward the floor there's a short section of large pipe with a vent (looks like a Dole) on an elbow tapped into it. That vent is way too small- it must be large enough to handle all the air coming back from the rads. You need at least one Gorton #2 there.

    Also check the ends of the steam mains to see if there are vents there. Measure the length and diameter of each steam main and tell us what vent is on it, if any.

    This is definitely Vapor, but what type? From the outside it looks like an orifice system, where orificing in the rad shutoffs restricts incoming steam so it won't get in the dry (overhead) return. These used plain open return elbows, and must be kept at low pressure- under 1 pound- by a Vaporstat.

    Or there could be a tiny check valve in those return elbows. That would be a Kriebel system, but those valves aren't Kriebel units.

    The difference berween pressuretrol and Vaporstat is the range of adjustment- the pressuretrol can be set as high as 10 pounds, the Vaporstat no higher than 4 pounds or 1 pound depending on the version. The latter is what you want.

    Don't worry, we'll figure it out.



    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Kim Smith
    Kim Smith Member Posts: 12
    reply to steamhead

    Thanks to you as well. I will share this with my guy as well and maybe between everyone we can make the proper changes to do it justice. I did check the manual on the boiler and the header does appear to be the proper size, 2". That vent that you refer to was left behind from the old system but I will pass on your critique. Since the new boiler was installed it is spitting like crazy~hence the bucket under it. Who knows someone could have changed it along the way since '28. Hard to imagine how those old systems just kept running. Despite ours not being all that efficient...at least it still worked well. Ugh! I will be back in touch once I run this all by my guy and get more clarification for you. I can't believe I am still up discussing this and the man of the house is sound asleep. I guess we know who the technical one is! Thanks for all of your patience on this. It is refreshing to communicate with folks who are confident about what they are looking at.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,679
    thoughts

    Kim, I got you email, I'm a 1/2 hour away but I'm not a good two-pipe guy I'm sorry to say. I sent you an email with further thoughts.

    Did the plumber set up the gas burner? I wonder if the orifice was drilled to the correct BTUs. Did he by chance do a combustion efficiency test on it?

    Where is the barometric damper with spill switches?

    Also, does two-pipe not need the close nip/90 at the hartford loop? This system has no such feature.

    I agree that there should be swing joints on the header, the boiler could possible act up some day. How many sections is this boiler? The installation manula would state if the 2" header is big enough.

    Was there ever any insulation on the pipes? Insulation and steam are really good friends, you may want to insulate some day.

    I'm wondering why the guy gave you a Series 8 with a conversion burner instead of a regular gas fired boiler...

    Brace yourself when your first fuel bill comes in, yikes.


    Gary

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • brucewo1b
    brucewo1b Member Posts: 638


    ""Also, does two-pipe not need the close nip/90 at the hartford loop? This system has no such feature.""

    As with the close nipple isn't the return also suppose to go below the waterline to near the floor so that steam cannot enter the return line and create water hammer?
  • Kim Smith
    Kim Smith Member Posts: 12
    deciding where to go with this new boiler

    Hello everyone...Spoke with my plumber today and he is thankful for the input. He is coming Wed. to exchange the Main Vent with a Gorton#2 as suggested. The supplies will be re-insulated by the end of the week. What other solid advice is out there? As I said I checked the manual re: the header and now I would like some clarification on what has been said about this swing joint etc... Regarding the most recent posts...It is a 6 section install and according to Carlin the boiler is built spec'd to that burner and thus it is not considered a conversion. I don't know whether to believe that or not at this point. SO...I still kind-of feel like I am running in circles without a plan and even worse like I have a lousy system here. Hopefully this situation can be salvaged without too much nonsense. If anyone is able I would love to be able to present to my plumber a way to analyze this further or at least what to do after swapping out the vent and switching to a vaporstat. Oddly enough...with it so cold last night I woke up to one of the rads that hadn't been responding nice and toasty. It just seems really fickle at this point. Looking forward to the next post...and what about this nipple thing in the last post?
    Thanks-Kim
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,679
    NIP/90

    Well the tee is usually already in the water right? So, the 90 elbow would send it even further into the water. I have never seen any specification as to how far to the floor this "return header" needs to go. I usually drop a foot or so.

    I just never do two-pipe, so I'm simply guessing at this. Where are the two-pipe dudes?

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • Or better yet, a drop header

    like one of these. The second swing joint makes it go together much easier, and relieves a lot more stress than a single swing.

    http://www.heatinghelp.com/pdfs/127.pdf

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
This discussion has been closed.