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Steam change out to HW

Wayco Wayne_2
Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,479
it would be better to keep the steam. Too many questions about the convectors. If there were big old cast iron beasties I would feel better about a change out. Frank, Not all mod cons have the same clerances for flu pipe. Most cat 4 appliances that have plastic vents require 4 feet UNLESS it is a 2 pipe system where the second pipe brings in combustion air. The reason being if air is coming from the outside there is less negative pressure on the house than if there is only one pipe blowing out. With 2 pipe most manufacturers say go with a 1 foot clearance in any direction from any window. A Munchkin with 2 pipe, for instance stays with the 4 foot rule despite AGA's blessing to go down to one foot. They just want to err on the side of caution. TT's Prestige allows you to go one foot from any window. I know all of my forced air condensing furnaces are 2 pipe and allow the one foot rule. WW

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  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,479
    Looked at a job today

    Where they want to take out an existing steam boiler and install a hot water system. They want the head room from removing the pipes in the basement. They want the higher efficiency of a mod con boiler. They want an indirect. We'll see what they really want when I give them the estimate. :) I don't know much about steam systems and what I might need to know to change it out. This comes from living equidistant from bot Frank, (Steamhead) and Dan Foley. I've been able to refer steam jobs to them and carry on with my hot water systems. The existing radiators are convector type rads. Do they have a vent that I have to remove or plug? Is there anything else I need to know. I am pricing a home run manifold with a run of PAP tubing to each rdadiator pipe that sticks into the basement. Should the rads be flushed with chemicals after the job is done? Any help is appreciated. WW

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  • Brad White_111
    Brad White_111 Member Posts: 19
    I would definintely

    do a chemical treatment and flushing (Rhomar for example) before you hook up any new boiler to that system. Bound to be a lot of stuff that will go into continuous circulation and that would just be so wrong.

    Of course the usual due diligence about conducting a current heat loss and compare per-room versus the radiation capacity. Especially with a ModCon and lower water temperatures; no one wants you to fall short. But you know this, of course!
  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,479
    Yes

    I've already done my heat load. That's the easy part. There's a vent on the main supply pipe down near the end of the trunk line. I didn't take time to take off the covers of the convectors to see if there was any vents on the radiators. They had a lot of screws and my visit was a fly by. I was too busy measuring the house dimensions and windows. I guess I'll have to get off my duff and learn a little steam. Dan's got a Steam seminar in my area in early October. Guess I better sign up. WW

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  • Brad White_111
    Brad White_111 Member Posts: 19
    Too bad

    it is convectors and not CI radiators.... Something about big warm radiant iron that reaches the soul. Nothing against 'hidden convectors' but they seem so...tedious... So with HW you may drive them a little harder but they still ought to work fine.

    Sorry I had to say the obvious! It is so reflexive and I know you are all over it. Yes, do Dan's steam class.

    "I thought that I knew steam before I got here". But here I learned what I did not know, some of what I thought I knew was wrong, and am continually learning, with renewed appreciation.

    They are in good hands, Wayne.
  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,479
    Thanks

    for the kind words. You're right. I love those cast iron beasties. I Would prefer them to the convectors. What are you doing up at this hour? I thought I was the only one with an overactive cerebral cortex. :) I really need to stop back by and take a closer look at those convectors. I can't rest my brain until I do. Good Night. WW

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    If they're Trane convectors

    they may have built-in orifices in the inlets, which will cause whistling if you try to run hot water thru them. As far as I know, there is no way to remove them.

    The headroom problem can be solved by running the main dead level against the basement ceiling, taking all runouts off from the bottom rather than the top of the main, and dripping the runouts where they turn up into the convectors. This keeps the water from building up in the main.

    One of the problems I keep seeing in older houses is there's no good place to vent a mod-con that meets Codes and manufacturer's specs- typically 4 feet on either side of a window, 7 feet above a walkway etc. I have yet to meet a home owner who will permanently close a window to create such a space.

    And you can use some indirects with steam boilers.

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  • Christian Egli_2
    Christian Egli_2 Member Posts: 812
    SOS save our steam

    Wayne, there was a post a few days ago of someone who went on looking for future hydronic air vent holes on the original steam convectors. He found none.

    There is picture, perhaps this will save you a trip. The link to that thread:

    http://forums.invision.net/Thread.cfm?CFApp=2&Thread_ID=38851&mc=6

    Those convectors won't work at deep boiler efficiencies, for that the home needs new panels aswell as new pipes and the new boiler. Don't get caught up promising miraculous efficiency gains.

    Good luck.
  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,479
    Frank

    I just reread your post and it dawned on me you said some indirects can be used with steam. Do tell. Can you enlighten me or show me the way? Thanks . WW

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  • Brad White_9
    Brad White_9 Member Posts: 2,440
    I think

    he may have been refering to the Burnham Independence PV. I may be wrong. They size out at Net I=B=R rated EDR's of 163, 271, 363 and 454 SF.

    In the end, I applaud your decision to stick with steam, Wayne. You are right, way too many questions, too much risk, no upside for you. A fair call.
  • Dan Foley
    Dan Foley Member Posts: 1,258
    Convectors

    What Frank said. I have run into many vapor systems in Chevy Chase with Trane convectors and no steam traps. These ran at very low pressures and relied on orifice plates to prevent steam from reaching the dry returns. If your convectors are orificed, I think you will regret converting these to hot water. Where is this one located, Wayne? -DF

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    I think Burnham's indirects can

    check with Glenn Stanton to be sure.

    I'll have to recheck the Prestige manual but I thought they wanted 4 feet too, at least under some conditions. I wonder how much CO could blow into an open window from the exhaust of one of these units if it malfunctioned? Scary thought to be sure...



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  • Jerry_15
    Jerry_15 Member Posts: 379


    check
  • Christian Egli_2
    Christian Egli_2 Member Posts: 812
    Angels on their clouds of steam are smiling

    Good call Wayne. Most steam boilers are fitted with tap holes for an indirect water heater hook up. Many also have the optional coil which can also be connected to the indirect tank. Indeed the storage tank is the way to go. The boiler also has a tapping for the aquastat to control the domestic hot water production.

    If the returns are in the way, these too are easily moved. Keep them sloped and vented like you would any drain pipe arrangement and you can install a wet return way out or the way.

    The upside down main Steamhead proposes is a nifty trick.

    The Lost Art shows piping schemes to go through doors and such. There might be some good ideas there for you.
  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,479
    Dan

    This is in Chevy Chase. ON Beechwood Road. The homeowner had Mindte come in and work on the old boiler and replace the water level control. Apparently they subbed it out to a contractor who worked on steam. I was wondering if it was you. It's a small world, especially when it comes to steam. I signed up for Dan's class in Oct. to bone up on steam. I might ask you to come in and help on this one though. I'll give you a call if so. WW

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  • Dan Foley
    Dan Foley Member Posts: 1,258
    Beechwood

    Wayne,

    I know exactly where that is - we have worked on a couple of steamers on Beechwood. We haven't done anything for Mindte, though. I have a couple of projects nearby. I would love to stop by, take a look, scratch my head.... and talk about it over a beer afterwards. Maybe one afternoon next week? -DF

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  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,479
    Sounds good

    to me. Esp the liquid refreshment part. :) I'll be in touch. WW

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  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,479
    Way cool

    I've got a call in to set up an appointment with the HO. I'll be in touch. WW

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  • Mark_35
    Mark_35 Member Posts: 44
    Orifice Plates

    Can someone tell me how large these orifices typically are?

    Just curious.

    > What Frank said. I have run into many vapor

    > systems in Chevy Chase with Trane convectors and

    > no steam traps. These ran at very low pressures

    > and relied on orifice plates to prevent steam

    > from reaching the dry returns. If your

    > convectors are orificed, I think you will regret

    > converting these to hot water. Where is this one

    > located, Wayne? -DF

    >

    > _A

    > HREF="http://www.heatinghelp.com/getListed.cfm?id=

    > 305&Step=30"_To Learn More About This

    > Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in

    > "Find A Professional"_/A_


  • Dan Foley
    Dan Foley Member Posts: 1,258
    Plates

    The "loose" orifice plates for radiators come in multiple sizes. Frank can probably give more details on this. The Trane convectors I have worked on have orifice plates built into the headers (internal). I have no idea how big they are. -DF

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    I have a chart somewhere

    showing how much steam orifices of various sizes will pass at various pressure differentials. Most of the orifice plates available now are "blanks" which require you to drill them yourself.

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This discussion has been closed.