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steam boiler replacement

David Sutton_6
David Sutton_6 Member Posts: 1,079
,

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Comments

  • Will_8
    Will_8 Member Posts: 8
    making new steam boiler work with old piping and radiators

    Hi, our old boiler died this April and was replaced with an updated model of the same type. Only problem is that now the new system does not want to heat up properly. It starts up, shuts down then re-starts and generates some heat then shuts off before heating much at all. And it all takes a long time. The company has been here 3X and still not fixed. Now told to replace all the relief valves on the radiators with Varivalves. Fine, the existing ones are old and of different types. But am suspicious that something else may be wrong. Steam does not seem to be getting out of boiler and up into the pipes. Oh yeah they also put on a smaller gauge nozzle for the oil feed so "it won't heat up so fast". I am puzzled.

    If you can supply a simple list of first 5-10 things they should check it would help me because I am not a heating pro!.

    Thanks very much!
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,010
    is the boiler water clean?

    skim the boiler..again..then again...then again..drain, flush out the inside with a hose..refill..skim again..of course the piping has to be in accordance with the manufacturers specs..i'm in gas country so i can't help with the nozzle thoughts..

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  • wsdave
    wsdave Member Posts: 97
    Other things

    I'm just a simple homeowner who has learned a lot from this site.
    Single pipe or two pipe system???
    Near boiler piping MUST be installed IAW manufacturer's specs (NO COPPER except for the wet returns), Main vent(s) properly sized and working, Mains insulated properly.
    I would suggest you purchase Dan's book "We've Got Steam" and also look into getting a pro in there to evaluate the situation. Sounds like you had "hacks" working for you.
    Just MHO,
    Dave
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Will, you need a real good steam man

    try the Find a Professional page of this site to locate one near you. If you're in the Baltimore area, contact me.

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  • Jerry_15
    Jerry_15 Member Posts: 379


    If you're lucky the controls aren't set up right, as opposed to near boiler mis-piping. Call a doctor and get a second opinion. No excuse for this after one call back from first installer. Steamhead, or even I, would figger this out from the boiler room door. Good luck. Send them the bill.
  • Will_8
    Will_8 Member Posts: 8
    new boiler won't heat cont....

    Thanks for all the quick responses! Good ideas.

    Single pipe, wet return as I understand it anyway. Would boiler water be dirty from backwash out of old system? The new unit is an updated model of the old but I guess that does not mean the close piping is O.K.

    Does anyone have a problem with me replacing all the radiator relief valves? (10 radiator system).
  • Jerry_15
    Jerry_15 Member Posts: 379


    Nothing wrong with replacing the air vents, but you probably don't need to. Cleaning the system is a fine thing to do, but that's probably not it either. Time it from cold start to pressure. That will tell all, and look for surging in the sight glass. Still hope it's bad control set-up. Good luck.
  • yes, David

    Yes David, we wallies need to see some pixs of the boiler replacement job, wondering if the main vent(s) are missing
    or not proper installed?
  • Pete_18
    Pete_18 Member Posts: 197
    pressure?

    Is it possible that they completely oversized your replacement boiler and it is shutting off on pressure constantly? Sizing a steam boiler properly and near boiler piping are both very important.

    If you read Dan's book or some of the excerpts online, you'll read about the pressuretrol... what are setting for it set to and do you see the gauge move at all when it shuts off? (you hopefully won't given that it's probably a 0-30 gauge). I assume when it's shutting off, the thermostat is not up to temperature? If it is, you may want to look at a new thermostat and ensure its anticipator (or equivalent) setting is properly set up for steam.

    Did they measure all of your radiators and ensure that the IBR rating for the new steam radiator matched the actual radiation of your attached radiators?

    The other item that other people have talked about is vents. If you do not have good main vents/radiator vents, you could be causing the system to shut off on pressure when instead it could be steaming away. Every good steam system should have Gorton main vents and many of the folks here swear by Gorton radiator vents (I've had OK luck with my Varivalve heat-timers, but they vent so much air that they're more difficult to balance from my experience).

    If you peg your thermostat at a very high temperature and the system does not shut off and go back on constantly then you'll know it's a thermostat issue, if it does, then to me you need to look at a boiler sizing problem with the system which may (or may not) be fixable with some good main vents and radiator vents depending on how severly oversized it is.
  • Mellow_2
    Mellow_2 Member Posts: 204
    Will

    > Thanks for all the quick responses! Good ideas.

    > Single pipe, wet return as I understand it

    > anyway. Would boiler water be dirty from backwash

    > out of old system? The new unit is an updated

    > model of the old but I guess that does not mean

    > the close piping is O.K.

    >

    > Does anyone have a

    > problem with me replacing all the radiator relief

    > valves? (10 radiator system).



  • Will_8
    Will_8 Member Posts: 8


  • Will_8
    Will_8 Member Posts: 8
    photos of boiler

    Burnham V85SL
    Steam MBH 123
    Steam sq ft 512

    trying to attach photos but not working yet
  • Will_8
    Will_8 Member Posts: 8
    photos boiler

  • Will_8
    Will_8 Member Posts: 8
    boiler photos

  • David Sutton_6
    David Sutton_6 Member Posts: 1,079
    Here are Will's pictures

    > Burnham V85SL Steam MBH 123 Steam sq ft

    > 512

    >

    > trying to attach photos but not working

    > yet




    Can't see the presuretrol thu...Sight glass looks real dirty, Has it been skimmed?

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    It definitely needs cleaning

    that sight glass isn't the dirtiest I've seen, but it's close. The dirt looks oily, which is not uncommon.

    Looks like the installer made use of the old header. Nothing wrong with that- it's high enough that no water should get into it. And it's bigger than the 2-inch size specified in the manual.

    I see what look like two dry returns coming back along the wall. These need to drop below the waterline before connecting- can't tell from the pics if they do.

    Are the steam mains vented?

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  • almost there..

    Thanks for the pixs and its showed up on my sidekick pager, you only showing one sided boiler job, we need to see the other side of the boiler job... Steamhead is right about the dirty sight glass, another thing about the riser, I was told a big no-no using the st 45 or st 90, too much restriction on rapiding steaming boiler, air vents on mains? Hartford loop ?
  • Will_8
    Will_8 Member Posts: 8


  • the rest

    The rest of the pixs helped me asking 2 more questions.... Is the hartford loop piped in too high? Can u measure and draw the "normal" water line on boiler near the hartford loop... From these 2nd set of pixs, I still don't see any main vents on ur return line, the comapny did ur boiler job, were they real boiler company or forced air company? There's a huge difference!
  • Will_8
    Will_8 Member Posts: 8
    boiler details

    Sorry I don't understand enough to answer your question. I will attempt to get the dimensions. My old boiler was Burnham V-75 by the way and the system worked with that but when we think about it, it may have been doing some of the shutting off but nothing like the new one. The old one could heat the house. However it was leaking steam between the boiler and the main steam line (whatever they call the connector there). So its steam power must have been a lot lower. The company is one of these in the phone book that does plumbing and heating. They were the only ones who would even try to restart the old boiler when my wife was home alone with 30 degreee temps, and their quote was in the middle range of the 3 we got on the new boiler so they got the business. Seem to have a lot of young guys and tend to be in a hurry.

    One other thing: they suspected the thermostat wire being bad because it is old and is spliced in the middle. One call they fixed the splice with end caps instead of electrical tape. I asked about replacing the wire and the last guy said he was sure that was not the problem it was the radiator vents. He claimed (I was not home) that when he removed the vents from 3 radiators that the system and radiators heated up fine, therefore replace the vents with Varivalves.

    Based on all the good info from you guys I think we will give them 1 more try in the Fall when they have to come back to remove my old oil tank which we are also replacing. If that fails then we will have to find someone who will work on the boiler and deduct from the money we still owe the current company.

    When I get time I will send more detail on the boiler piping dimensions.

    Thanks again for all the help,

    Will
  • lookin at the pixs again

    I was looking at the pixs again and how many seasons has ur boiler been in service? From the pix, I seen rust(?) on bottom of jacket. Are those 2x4 woods using as shoes for the boiler? Tiny drain sillcock will not flushed out the downsized boiler return. Still can't determined if the hartford loop is piped too high.. If you gonna wait til fall, in meantime, best for you is to get Dan's steam heating books!
  • Jerry_15
    Jerry_15 Member Posts: 379


    I don't see anything really awful on the piping, especialliay since you don't have any hammering (although it would be nice to see the back-side), so I'm still leaning towards control set-up, and a good main vent or two, especially if there was someplace to park one at the end of the line, couldn't hurt, neither a good cleansing, or try some squick. You can easily take the t-stat out of the equation by jumping it out in the boiler room and timing the boiler to pressure cut-out, bottom of the scale I trust, from a cold start. You could try it again with a very simple test at a far radiator that would tell the tale of venting problems instantly. Also what is the differential set at? Over-firing, or over-boilering, a definate possibility. I do notice that there is no man re-set high limit pressure-trol. Probably not required in your area. Good Luck.
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