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New steam mini-tube installation in Ohio

gerry gill
gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045
We recently finished adding steam to a house in University Hts Ohio, where the customer has had a furnace for years. She has bad allergies and her allergies bother her the most when the furnasty runs. We installed radiators and a steam mini tube system for her. The city had no idea what to do with that permit when i applied for it, but the inspector loved the job. I asked the customer how she liked the steam, and here is her email reply.

''Actually Phil and I were saying today how the radiator sizes really fit the use of each room--office, bathrooms, living room and kitchen table are toasty, and the rest of the house seems just right. We used to freeze in the office, downstairs bath and living room couch, so the difference is great. ''

The furnace was a 100k input and the steam boiler is a 105k input, so it is going to be fun to track this gas bill.

We get steam to the end of the mains in a little over a minute once steam starts to enter the takeoffs.
gwgillplumbingandheating.com
Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

ChrisJvaporvacRoss_24RobGMilanDkcoppluketheplumber
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Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,510
    Beautiful!

    Is the coil of copper pipe serving as a cooling leg?

    And is this gravity-return?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,234
    Where do you get radiators for these systems? Do you buy new, or find used ones somewhere?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    edited November 2014
    Amazing. Somehow I missed that one could use old cast iron rads. THAT is totally rad! So beautiful. Please keep us informed of the numbers when you get them. Could you explain the purpose of the copper coil? I'm also wondering if you've ever had a chance to experiment with vacuum on your own system.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045
    Oh, sorry Steamhead, forgot to answer your question, it is a pumped return just like my house. Not enough B dimension.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • EzzyT
    EzzyT Member Posts: 1,217
    Beautiful and great craftsmanship as always Gerry. Are those brass piping going into the inlet side of the radiator valve and leaving the traps?
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045
    EzzyT said:

    Beautiful and great craftsmanship as always Gerry. Are those brass piping going into the inlet side of the radiator valve and leaving the traps?

    Hi Ezzy- yes, that was special order 3/8 brass pipe. Came in weird lengths, 11 feet.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045
    vaporvac said:

    Amazing. Somehow I missed that one could use old cast iron rads. THAT is totally rad! So beautiful. Please keep us informed of the numbers when you get them. Could you explain the purpose of the copper coil? I'm also wondering if you've ever had a chance to experiment with vacuum on your own system.

    The cooling leg is required when using a thermostatic trap as a drip trap instead of say an f&t trap. The thermostatic element needs to cool off about 20 degrees to open. The condensate would then 'back up' into the main with hammering to follow. The cooling leg, or 'slinky' as we call it allows a decent linear length of cooling leg in a relatively short area.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

    MilanD
  • EzzyT
    EzzyT Member Posts: 1,217
    That 2"x4" steel tubing you used is a really neat and cool thing.
    What kind of vents did you use at the end of the mains and on the thermostatic traps?
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045
    EzzyT said:

    That 2"x4" steel tubing you used is a really neat and cool thing.
    What kind of vents did you use at the end of the mains and on the thermostatic traps?

    Sterling f&t traps on the end of the mains. And of course the terminal vent is the vent pipe of the condensate tank.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • EzzyT
    EzzyT Member Posts: 1,217
    Would love to see the system in action
    MilanD
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,109
    And now you are making homemade radiators?! That is gorgeous work as usual! Question about the radiator you made, would something like that work well on a one pipe system? I can weld fairly well and seeing that has my brain working!
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    brandonf
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045
    KC_Jones said:

    And now you are making homemade radiators?! That is gorgeous work as usual! Question about the radiator you made, would something like that work well on a one pipe system? I can weld fairly well and seeing that has my brain working!

    I don't see any reason it wouldn't work on one pipe steam as long as attention is paid to the sizing of the inlet pipe,
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • Wonderful job!
    Could you have used 1/2 inch pipe, or would that have been more expensive?
    Did you size the boiler from a heat loss, or from the radiation?
    You are certainly pushing the envelope for all of us here!--NBC
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,510
    Gerry, you should patent that radiator and put it on the market. Also do a hot-water version if you can. I've worked on jobs where I almost would have killed for something like that.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Solid_Fuel_Mankcopp
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045

    Wonderful job!
    Could you have used 1/2 inch pipe, or would that have been more expensive?
    Did you size the boiler from a heat loss, or from the radiation?
    You are certainly pushing the envelope for all of us here!--NBC

    Iron fireman called for sizing their system to the heat loss, which makes for quite a small boiler, but they also used turbine heaters and convectors..with iron radiators my gut instinct was to allow more.. with iron rads i recommend sizing to the rads but then sizing the boiler output to this number, that way the 1/3 extra boiler for piping and pick up is removed..a little bit of un-charted territory here.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045
    Steamhead said:

    Gerry, you should patent that radiator and put it on the market. Also do a hot-water version if you can. I've worked on jobs where I almost would have killed for something like that.

    Hadn't thought of the patent. Once its in the public its to late i believe. It was actually easy to make. I had wanted to put two in so it looked like the twin towers but was kind of over ruled there. :)
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

    Solid_Fuel_Manluketheplumber
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,234

    Wonderful job!
    Could you have used 1/2 inch pipe, or would that have been more expensive?
    Did you size the boiler from a heat loss, or from the radiation?
    You are certainly pushing the envelope for all of us here!--NBC

    Iron fireman called for sizing their system to the heat loss, which makes for quite a small boiler, but they also used turbine heaters and convectors..with iron radiators my gut instinct was to allow more.. with iron rads i recommend sizing to the rads but then sizing the boiler output to this number, that way the 1/3 extra boiler for piping and pick up is removed..a little bit of un-charted territory here.
    One of my favorites.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    MarkS
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045
    Way to funny ChrisJ
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • TheRooster
    TheRooster Member Posts: 34
    This is amazing work, I wish someone with your talent and skill was around these parts.

    Did you insulate all the minitube lines?
    2001 Slant-Fin Liberty II LD-40, Single pipe steam
    456 sq/ft connected load
    3PSI gauge
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045

    This is amazing work, I wish someone with your talent and skill was around these parts.

    Did you insulate all the minitube lines?

    Yes, we insulated the tubing that was in exterior walls, but not the basement. We are trying to get some heat off the basement tubes as the city required outside combustion air via a window damper that is going to cool the basement alot.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • Bio
    Bio Member Posts: 278
    I understand it should run at higher pressure than the usual set up, at what pressure is it running and at how many CPH is the tstat set for
    PC7060
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045
    Bio said:

    I understand it should run at higher pressure than the usual set up, at what pressure is it running and at how many CPH is the tstat set for

    I have the pressuretrol set at 3 psi cutout with 1 pound differential, and the cph set at 3.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • Why does it need such higher pressure?--NBC
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,234

    Why does it need such higher pressure?--NBC

    My guess is smaller tubing needs a little more of a push to get the same volume through.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045

    Why does it need such higher pressure?--NBC

    Friction
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045
    ChrisJ said:

    I'm sorry, I couldn't resist.

    i'm saving that picture, lol
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

    ChrisJP1385
  • Patrick_North
    Patrick_North Member Posts: 249
    This kind of thing makes me really, really happy.
    Do you have any pictures of or can you describe how the in-wall feed transitions to the floor-to-radiator stubout? Or are only the condensate returns in the wall?
    Do you have any plans to document the modern mini-tube system for use by others (beyond these posts, that is)?
    Inspiring stuff, even for us non-pros!
    Thanks,
    Patrick
    P1385
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045

    This kind of thing makes me really, really happy.
    Do you have any pictures of or can you describe how the in-wall feed transitions to the floor-to-radiator stubout? Or are only the condensate returns in the wall?
    Do you have any plans to document the modern mini-tube system for use by others (beyond these posts, that is)?
    Inspiring stuff, even for us non-pros!
    Thanks,
    Patrick

    I didn't take any pictures of the transition, not sure why..but its 3/8th iron pipe size brass threads with either a coupling or 90 degree brass elbow and a male thread by flare adapter fitting.

    I will attach the original instruction manual..it may seem confusing because the name on it is Turbonics. Iron Fireman at some point sold the rights to the system to Turbonics, another local company that makes heaters that can be used with this system.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    You sure know how to lock in a customer for life! No one is ever going to be able to work on that system but you! Did they keep the air as a backup and for AC? I see it's still hiding next to the boiler.
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045
    RobG said:

    You sure know how to lock in a customer for life! No one is ever going to be able to work on that system but you! Did they keep the air as a backup and for AC? I see it's still hiding next to the boiler.

    correct, we didn't remove what was there so that they could use the a/c if desired.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • NYplumber
    NYplumber Member Posts: 503
    Just like the job in your home, the install looks flawless. Use a gravity return and add a 750mv gas valve and they will have a system that will run regardless if there is a power outage.

    Again, GREAT JOB!
    :NYplumber:
  • Patrick_North
    Patrick_North Member Posts: 249
    As has been pointed out earlier, this type of install eliminates many of the difficulties in making apples-to-apples comparisons with similar hot water systems. As your experience with this type of system grows do you have any new thoughts on how mini tube steam stacks up to hot water?
    Thanks,
    Patrick
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045
    I don't know, hadn't really thought about it. I asked my wife the other day, how much our gas bill was on the budget plan..she replied that we hadn't been on the budget for several years as we had such a high credit we wouldn't get it back if we stayed on the budget..so i know it beats the crap out of forced air..i do remember when the gas company demanded entrance to the house to inspect the gas meter..not sure if thats what you were getting at.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

    RobGP1385
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    i do remember when the gas company demanded entrance to the house to inspect the gas meter

    I love it when that happens. Probably the clearest indication we have really done our job...
  • Patrick_North
    Patrick_North Member Posts: 249
    That's great news. Mini tube seems a lot easier to install than a standard iron 1-pipe system while maintaining a similar simple elegance. What's you assessment of installation cost generally (I know we're not supposed to talk pricing, specifically) of mini-tube versus hot water? I know that's not an apples to apples comparison, but I'm still curious.
    And speaking of tricky apples to oranges comparisons... When discussing differences in hot water versus steam systems, higher efficiency mod-con boilers are often the factor people point to in giving hot water the advantage. But though you're not (currently, anyway) able to make use of a higher efficiency mod-con boiler, it seems clear that the system losses in a mini tube are very, very low. What's your theoretical assessment of overall system efficiency with mini tube steam versus hot water? Again, I know there are way too many variables to make that a straightforward question, but I'm curious if you have any thoughts.
    I've got to say, even as someone not in the trade, this kind of initiative and enthusiasm for one's craft is refreshing and inspiring.
    Thanks,
    Patrick
    Boon
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 323
    Gerry - nice install. After reading the brochure/manual you linked I had to look up the Iron Fireman and found this, which appears to be yours. Really an intriguing designed system.

    http://www.gwgillplumbingandheating.com/webapp/GetFile?fid={D69BB423-EB8B-4B0D-8FF2-2071A398CB80}

    I'm totally going to try to find the model house in Lagrange. Any idea how the turbine powered fans worked? The only problem I see is they looked too much like the electric wall heaters you'd find in a bathroom - I'm tempted to do sketch up a design for a more attractive version just for fun.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,109
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,234
    Oh how I would love to have that.
    Not $100 worth of love, but....
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment