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Replacing Broken Boiler

Bill Jirik,
Bill Jirik, Member Posts: 54
For several years we have used High temperature silicone rubber sealant as pipe dope on larger one pipe steam 3" and larger screwed fittings, clean the oil off the threads with a good cleaner, and apply sealant allow to set up a day or two and no leaks, plus they unscrew easily as it doesn't get rock hard like some dopes.

Comments

  • John Van Hoesen
    John Van Hoesen Member Posts: 91
    Replacing Broken Boiler

    I'm currently in the process of replacing a Burnham V84 Stream Boiler with the exact same boiler block (the previous owners let it freeze and the back section blew out). I am planning on using all the old piping and just put everything back in the exact same place. Four questions that concern me:

    (1) Is teflon tape with pipe threading compound over it sufficient (I've heard some plumbers say, dope, tape, dope).

    (2) Is there a special pipe dope that I should be using, or is the standard threading compound okay?

    (3) I'm plannning on re-wiring some of the components and they are all in bx cable, is that "code" or is Romex okay? I can't find any info on this and don't have a copy of the NEC.

    (4) My BIGGEST worry is cracking the boiler when putting the big 3 inch supply pipes back in the block. Is there any rule of thumb, or is snug and half the threads okay?

    Thanks SO much for any help or advice!!

    cheers
    John
  • EJW
    EJW Member Posts: 321
    Boiler replace

    John, I've never tried dope-tape-dope. I have always done tape-dope with no problems, however I never teflon the feed or return going into the boiler, just dope. I cracked a peerless back in my youth using teflon and dope and have never done it again. Use BX, romex is a no no. EJW
  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177


    just a word to the wise. if it is not installed by a qualified professional, you may void the warranty.
  • John Barnes_2
    John Barnes_2 Member Posts: 1
    Install


    I am not a "professional" but here is how I would do it...

    1.) Tape then dope

    2.) Dope with no oil or petroluem based content

    3.) BX

    4.) Snug, but don't over do it.

    Set a short (5-7") nipple on each riser out of the boiler and then place a union followed by whatever additional length nipple is needed to get you up to the header. That way you can later disconnect and crank a few more threads on if necessary. Also, it helps later for the next guy that has to sawp out the boiler.

    I see many install pics posted on this site and few have unions on the risers out of the boiler. - I don't agree with that practice.



  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
    John Barnes & JVH

    I am a profesional, (at least thats what they tell me, He He) and I would follow the manufacturers installation instructions. Bob Young as well as EJW bring up strong points as well. JVC, how were you able to, or should I ask where did you purchase this boiler?

    Robert O'Connor/NJ
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    actually John

    Where he is replacing a steam boiler he will have no choice but to use a union (all piping should be black iron). On a new system I do not use any unions. If the boiler fails down the road it is nothing to cut the pipe and install a union at that time. Make sure to check with local authority to follow any code's required. Also check with Burnham to see if this voids warranty (private install, not installed by a certified tech)...
  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    steam work

    on new steam piping the only thing needed for low pressure threaded joints is pipe joint compound- PERIOD. you have your choice of about one hundred brands, they all work. secondly proper size pipe wrenches and the strengh & know how to use them properly. that's it. any unnecessary unions are potential leaks. on replacing boilers the headers are usually changed out anyway. unless you hire that WOOJIE OUTFIT. THEN ANYTHING GOES. flange unions are much prefered on piping over 2 "
  • Velcro and unions...

    Mr Barnes, I've been doing what I do for over 30 years, and I don't put unions on my equipment because of people like yourself. They see unions, and say "Heck, I can replace that..."

    When working with the typical heating plant, you're dealing with no less than three agents, and all three have the ability to kill, maim, disfigure and bankrupt you and/ or the person you're doing the work for. Unions are not Velcro, and putting in a boiler is dangerous work that should be done by a qualified professional, IMPO.

    For that reason, and that reason alone, I refuse to put unions on anything I install. If you don't know how to replace it without having to have unions on it, then maybe you shouldn't be messing with it.

    I've seen my fair share of velcro replacements, like where the new water heater was shorter than the original, so instead of putting it on the cement floor, an dlowering it to mee the changes in piping (Flue, gas etc..), they raised it on bricks in order to make it work!!

    The kids got to rough housing, as kids will do, and "bumped" into the mess and knocked it off the"foundation", and broke the water line. It was hanging by the gas line when I got there...

    I met a kid once that couldn't tie his shoes. He was 14 years old, and not mentally challenged. Ya know why he couldn't tie a knot? You guessed it, VELCRO! I'm teliin' ya, that stuff is dangerous...

    The sawzall is much faster than the wrench:-) He said with removal in his voice...

    ME
  • Brian (Tankless)
    Brian (Tankless) Member Posts: 340
    Amen

    Please don't help folk kill themselves.

    If someone doesn't know how tight "tight" is, and asks about dope, tape, and dope again, they've no business attempting the job.

    I heard that there are possible legal consequences from helping someone in this manner, especially if injury or damage ensues. Did I say sues?

    Be careful guys.

    Brian.

    P.S.
    You guys know I'm not a heating pro, I'm a marine electrician, and I refuse to show a non-sparky how to do my job, I won't be a party to someone getting hurt or worse.
  • John Van Hoesen
    John Van Hoesen Member Posts: 91
    Thanks for all your info!

    I appreciate all the feedback and quick responses, although after reading this I guess I should have given a little more information to east the minds of some folks (or not, who knows)... I admit that I am not a professional, nor will I ever be a professional and I have not replaced a steam boiler before. I do not wish to insult anyone who is a professional (of any trade), but I grew up with a father who was a master electrician (as well as a VERY plumber and carpenter, he built our house and renovated 4 apartment buildings). He was an electrical engineer for RCA and served in the Navy in the same capacity. I grew up being taught that I could fix and replace anything and still believe that, I worked as a mechanic and an electrical apprentice for 7 years putting myself through school, so I have a few practical skills. I'm sorry if I offended anyone with my questions. In regards to the response "If someone doesn't know how tight "tight" is, and asks about dope, tape, and dope again, they've no business attempting the job." I reply,

    "Read through the posts to my question and tell me that there is consistency with respect to dope." That's why I asked, everyone I talked to had a different opinion... but what do I know.

    The old boiler was put in 4 years ago, the previous tenants let it freeze so the back section exploded, I probably could have just replaced one section, but didn't want to deal with any hairline fractures down the road. I purchased just the knockdown from a plumbing supply outfit in Albany, NY and carted it back up to Vermont. Since it was only put in 4 years ago I'm using the exact same piping (it IS all black iron and no unions or nipples out of the block). There is union between the return and the supply and another between the the two branching pipes extending out into the house. I won't be cobbing the job or using any "velcro," I didn't spend $1000 on a boiler to screw it up or do a half **** job that's why I asked for help here from professionals. I don't have a lot of money and I'm just "starting out" so any money I can save is great help... I've re-wired and re-plumbed the house (and had it inspected) with no issues, so I don't think it's unheard of (or unsafe) to remove a broken boiler and replace it with a new one) not changing much except where the kill switch is located. I really appreciate those of you who are supportive of DIY's, not all of us are incompetent...

    Thanks again for all that were helpful!
    cheers
    John VH
  • John Van Hoesen
    John Van Hoesen Member Posts: 91
    Thanks for all your info!

    I appreciate all the feedback and quick responses, although after reading this I guess I should have given a little more information to east the minds of some folks (or not, who knows)... I admit that I am not a professional, nor will I ever be a professional and I have not replaced a steam boiler before. I do not wish to insult anyone who is a professional (of any trade), but I grew up with a father who was a master electrician (as well as a VERY plumber and carpenter, he built our house and renovated 4 apartment buildings). He was an electrical engineer for RCA and served in the Navy in the same capacity. I grew up being taught that I could fix and replace anything and still believe that, I worked as a mechanic and an electrical apprentice for 7 years putting myself through school, so I have a few practical skills. I'm sorry if I offended anyone with my questions. In regards to the response "If someone doesn't know how tight "tight" is, and asks about dope, tape, and dope again, they've no business attempting the job." I reply,

    "Read through the posts to my question and tell me that there is consistency with respect to dope." That's why I asked, everyone I talked to had a different opinion... but what do I know.

    The old boiler was put in 4 years ago, the previous tenants let it freeze so the back section exploded, I probably could have just replaced one section, but didn't want to deal with any hairline fractures down the road. I purchased just the knockdown from a plumbing supply outfit in Albany, NY and carted it back up to Vermont. Since it was only put in 4 years ago I'm using the exact same piping (it IS all black iron and no unions or nipples out of the block). There is union between the return and the supply and another between the the two branching pipes extending out into the house. I won't be cobbing the job or using any "velcro," I didn't spend $1000 on a boiler to screw it up or do a half **** job that's why I asked for help here from professionals. I don't have a lot of money and I'm just "starting out" so any money I can save is great help... I've re-wired and re-plumbed the house (and had it inspected) with no issues, so I don't think it's unheard of (or unsafe) to remove a broken boiler and replace it with a new one) not changing much except where the kill switch is located. I really appreciate those of you who are supportive of DIY's, not all of us are incompetent...

    Thanks again for all that were helpful! cheers John VH
  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    russian roulette

    Just keep in mind that a little bit of knowlege is a dangerous thing and if you couple that with over confidence and add gas or oil fuel----- you just might end up with a new parking lot. best of luck & hope everyone gets out alive
  • EJW
    EJW Member Posts: 321
    Hey John

    Where is this in VT? EJW
  • John Van Hoesen
    John Van Hoesen Member Posts: 91
    EJW...

    I live in Poultney, VT just south of Rutland? You in VT?
  • Al Gregory
    Al Gregory Member Posts: 260


    DIY people should change the color of tile in their bathroom not boilers. To easy to forget something small like a relief valve or something like that. Not like putting a swing set together and having parts left over. Please reconsider.
  • EJW
    EJW Member Posts: 321
    John

    I'm south of you in NH, just across the river from Bellows Falls. EJW
  • JoeV
    JoeV Member Posts: 62
    replacing old boiler

    What does a person do when he wants to replace his steam system and there are no pros in the area (raleigh, NC). It's all forced air down here. Any advise?
  • GaryDidier
    GaryDidier Member Posts: 229
    boiler install

    JVH,

    John, There is a great heating and cooling co. across the border in Hampton NY. Hometown heating- phone is 518 282-9015. At least give them a call to properly set up and fire up your new boiler. Good luck.

    Gary from Granville

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,723
    If there's a local contractor

    who has no experience with steam, but can install black threaded pipe, one of us might come down to consult.

    E-mail me if you're interested.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • jammer_3
    jammer_3 Member Posts: 2


    Good luck with it. It sounds like from your background and the training that you got from your old man that you will do as good a job as many of the so-called "pros" because you will take the time to actually read the instructions and ask questions if unceratin instead of just plowing ahead and proceeding along the lines of the last boiler job you did which may or may not be correct for this particular installation and manufacturer.

    I was in my local supply house looking for something to test for PH in the water of a steam boiler when an old timer overheard me and said he been in the biz for 25 years and never tests for PH in steam boilers because you have to add so much fresh water every day to a steam system that the water content is constantly changing and so it don't make sense to test for PH.

    I thought "whew" glad he ain't servicing my boiler. When I pointed out that with proper working vents, no leaks, etc. that the boiler shouldn't take on that much water really he freaked on me saying he been in the biz for 25 years and obviosuly I don't have a clue.

    So, like everyting else in life...there are many competent pros out there but there are also some incompetent "pros" - there are idiot dyers out there and then there are some who, like yourself, probably have a higher mechancial aptitude than most folks and will do fine with it.

    Boilers are not rocket science or brain surgury. Those folks that think so don't realize there own limitations compared with the rest of the general population of tool guys and mechanics out there. People learn at differnt speeds. Sorry
  • will smith_4
    will smith_4 Member Posts: 259
    Go nuts!

    We're all amateur roofers, electricians, plumbers, doctors, lawyers, accountants-you name it! Everybody does what they do, with a little extra on the side. As long as YOU feel comfortable and capable doing something, then do it. Heck, half the people doing anything don't know what they're doing anyway! (that sounds like a song...hmmm)
  • John Van Hoesen
    John Van Hoesen Member Posts: 91
    Thanks!!!

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, I wasn't intending to offend anyone, but pipe is pipe and physics is physics... :) Yes, I asked a lot of questions, I read a lot of articles and talked to a lot of people. The boiler is back together, I just finished connecting the new fuel tank to the fill and vent lines (which by the way didn't have a vent whistle, not sure if the last install was a DIY'er or not) and tomorrow I'm putting the coated copper tubing between the two firematics in (the last setup didn't have any firematics). I'm having a local HVAC tech come and test the system, clean the burner, change the nozzle and test the vapors... I'm not an idiot, I just didn't want to pay $2500 for someone else to move my fuel tank, boiler and turn some wrenches... I'll keep you posted about the outcome, tech should be here early next week.

    cheers
    John
This discussion has been closed.