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And it worked

J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
You could amaze him with proper sizing and piping. I think I've worked in this building...about 100 times in the last 20 years,Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

I've seen the fuel bills cut in 1/2 on more than a few...and by 1/3 seems to be the norm.

Who cares what kind of a neighborhood it's in.Get the tennants to protect you and the truck. Once you explain to them that the fuel savings will keep their rent as low as possible...they'll do anything for you. (Has this ever happened to you? It's happened to me...and it was very enlighteneing!)

I love pit boilers ! We had one a while ago that was in a pit because of the side of the hill it was built into. Always water in the basement...as a matter of fact, it was a river for most of the year. The old grocery store in the next lot burned down, and was bought by a larger but local company.They decided to expand the sq. feet of the market. All it took was one blast, while they were making the parking lot bigger, and there wasn't another drop of water in that basement to this day.(Of course, your puppy may be there to gain enough space for a proper "A" demension...but that's a good thing!)
Go for it. This is a great way to make the company look real good.Cutting fuel bills is worth its weight in gold to apartment building owners,AND...they talk to each other! Chris


  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557
    Steam pics

    Found this one today. Cracked rear section. Can't gain access to apts. to get EDR. Bad neighborhood. Poor access to basement. Big user of oil so we do need to try to keep this customer happy. 2 - 3" risers directly into 4" mains. The pipe from the bottom of the Hartford loop to the return tapping RISES 3" and no way to flush the low spot. Asbetos removed years ago and not replaced. Unit rated for 5.0 GPH, currently fired at 3.5 GPH. Customer claims the system works fine.

    This might be fun. I doubt it.

  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557

    I hear what your saying. I have no experience with the oil savings part, but have heard enough to no it's possible. As far as "A" dimension goes I've got about 38". I guess it's possible that the original boiler had a higher water line. I don't think the wet will go away anytime soon. They have a sump pump sitting next to the boiler. The existing boiler is sitting on 12" of block, presumably to keep it out of the water. We'll probably need to drop it down 6" in order to make it into the low flue thimble.

    I going back today to try and gain access to the radiators for a proper EDR. I get nervous when I see such large mains being fed by smaller risers and a reduced firing rate.
  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557
    Steam Rads

    I just worked out the EDR on the existing radiators. Total of 659. Works out to just under 160 K BTU's.

    The first floor of this building only has 3 radiators total in 2 store fronts. The others have been removed over the years to make way for store fixtures.

    But there is about 100' of uninsulated 4" main in the basement. That works out to about 40,000 BTU's worth of pipe. The heat rising off the mains must be heating the first floor. Even so, we are still way over fired at 3.50 GPH. We are looking at a 3 section Smith 19A, which will still be a little big, but the owner wants to put a couple of the mssing rads back in.

    My question is: Can the owner leave the mains uncovered and use them as radiators?
  • Christian Egli_2
    Christian Egli_2 Member Posts: 812
    A call for David Letterman

    This is a made for TV sketch. Fill the pit with water and see what happens. We can all play: "Does it float?"

    Will it? What do you think? Or is Dave Letterman back to smashing pumpkins and launching things off the roof; I'd bet the boiler flies like an eagle too.


    An uncovered main heats like a radiator, that's obvious, but not the same way a bona fide radiator does.

    You get heat off your main at the cost of 1) deprioritizing the other legitimate radiators and 2) at the risk of degrading the steam quality in your system, and lastly, 3) you get much slower time from boiler on to steam in the radiator.

    The first point stems from the fact that mains should deliver steam to all the radiators in the same balanced time. You control all this through venting and proper balancing is something spectacular. If you plan on the mains being exposed, they will give heat like a radiator, but they'll take this heat from the steam passing through to other, perhaps more important, parts of the home. The mains get first dibs on the steam, regardless of your balancing act.

    Then, when the heat from the steam is rendered, you get condensate formation in the main. This is probably acceptable, but nonetheless, a big risk in view of condensate puddles and water hammer and wet steam that messes up the heating action of the true radiators.

    The increase in steam delivery time to each of the radiators is not a good thing because it decreases system efficiency. By how much? depends on how well the boiler is sized to the modified load. The gold standard is still measured in mere minutes, steam is quick - so why go for less.

    Plus, using mains for heat leaves you with no control.

    Properly insulated mains and dedicated radiators, baseboards and fin tubes are the best choice. Old, loose insulation is easy to seal off, by the way.

    No sweat, float the boiler out of the pit. :)
  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557
    Thanks for the advise

    I understand, and I hope we can convince the landlord to insulate the pipes. I get the feeling that he won't, but I'll try to convince him. I sized the boiler allowing for the uncovered mains. If he has to reinstall rads on the first floor to give them enough heat the system should easily be able to handle it.

    If we do this job I'll post after pics. Thanks again.
  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557

    We just gave the homeowner the price. "Oh, that's too much".

    You can pay us now, or pay us to fix it later. You guys know.
This discussion has been closed.