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    Columbia Joins the Wet-Base Power-Gas Steamer Ranks (20 Posts)

  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 10:14 PM
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    Columbia Joins the Wet-Base Power-Gas Steamer Ranks

    This was probably as bad as Hurricane Sandy got in the Baltimore area- certainly nothing like coastal New York or New Jersey, where entire neighborhoods were wiped out.

    This basement flooded because the downspouts had been disconnected from the drainpipes that ran to the street, so all the water was dumped around the foundation. The ground got saturated from all the rain, the power went out so the sump pump quit,  and the basement flooded, knocking out the boiler and water heater.

    We had optimized this system about a month ago with Gorton #2 main vents and Vent-Rite #1 adjustables in the bedrooms. So the owners called us to replace the boiler and water heater.

    The boiler was a Columbia CEG-187, with the usual undersized copper abomination that was leaking under the insulation.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 10:29 PM
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    In with the New

    the owners wanted to install better equipment than they had.

    If this boiler looks like a Utica Starfire, it is..... Columbia re-brands Uticas for their cast-iron residential boiler line. This is a CSFHE-4100S with the familiar Carlin EZ-Gas burner, which has only recently been an option on these boilers. Boiler and burner were supplied together by the local Columbia store. This combination (as well as the smaller CSFE-0365S) is competitive, efficiency-wise, with the Smith 8 and Slant/Fin Intrepid series with gas burners, and since Columbia stocks these boilers and burners we didn't have to wait for them to arrive.

    We piped the drop header so as to make room for the chimney connector to pass underneath.

    The water heater is Bradford-White's M4-series 50-gallon, which has an 0.62 energy factor because of its heavier insulation, better baffling etc. as opposed to the usual 0.56-0.59.

    And of course we set both units up on blocks, to help avoid future flooding!
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    This post was edited by an admin on November 23, 2012 10:36 PM.
  • Gordo Gordo @ 6:45 PM
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    Followup Details

    The return is tapped at 2", which is nice.  Here, then, we added a 2" x 6" extra heavy nipple and a 2" x 1-1/2" cast iron tee before transitioning to the 1-1/2" copper equalizer line.  The extra mass will tolerate corrosion better.

    The sightglass gets a proper blowdown valve and a drain hose.  Every sightglass should get one.

    The solenoid valve on the Hydrolevel VXT-120 was reversed to make it fit the existing feed line and replace the Unimatch.  That's a bit of a trick!

    We've asked the good folks at Hydrolevel to think about re-designing the solenoid mounting to make it easier to reverse.  That issue is still in the air.  We've seen too many VXTs mounted upside down or sideways by  "others".  It's such a nice piece of equipment, it deserves better, as well as making the numbers, it's raison d'etre, easier to read.

    It would be helpful if the folks at Columbia would add a bit of length to the pressuretrol whip it enable it to be more easily mounted higher above the waterline.  It is clear the way it is mounted now is called for by the packaging engineers and is not the optimal design for maintenance.
  • JStar JStar @ 11:45 PM
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    Boiler

    Nice! I like how the header squares up the whole system. What were your combustion numbers with that model boiler? The Starfire usually gets around 82%.
    - Joe Starosielec
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    Serving all of NJ, NYC, Southern NY State, and eastern PA.
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  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 5:00 PM
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    This one

    ran about 82% on the Testo, with the EZ-Gas running at 9.0% CO2. There was a bit of headroom available but we don't use it, since BG&E has been known to spike their wintertime gas supply with whatever they can get to meet the demand. The advertised AFUE on oil is 85.7%, probably a bit lower on gas.... still better than an atmospheric.

    Note that the same 4-section block can be fired at several different rates- 140,000 BTUH (used here, same as 1 GPH on oil), 175,000 (1.25 on oil) and 210,000 (1.5 on oil). Obviously the higher the rate, the lower the efficiency. Where this option exists, we always use the lowest rate for best efficiency and longer life.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    This post was edited by an admin on November 24, 2012 5:27 PM.
  • Steve Steve @ 12:07 AM
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    Curiosity

    Nice job, just curious why you went with the water heater and not an indirect
    I'm guessing Budget
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 5:01 PM
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    Bingo

    but we still get better efficiency than that old Rheem offered.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • Steve Steve @ 12:07 AM
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    Double post

    This post was edited by an admin on November 24, 2012 12:28 AM.
  • Rod Rod @ 10:04 AM
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    Very Nice!

    That piping is a masterpiece! Very Nice!
    - Rod
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 5:23 PM
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    Thanks!

    nm
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • MarkS MarkS @ 4:53 PM
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    Good news

    Good to know that the Utica Starfire can take a power gas burner. If it turns out the Midco radial burner isn't a fit for my own Starfire, I'll at least be able to have a Carlin installed in the spring.

    I'd be looking at a 275 MBtuH top end firing rate. What else do you take into consideration when selecting one of these units? Is there any particular advantage of the 50-275 MBtuH unit over the 150-275 MBthH?
    Homeowner, Royersford PA | 1890 one-pipe steam system | 3009 sf | 3 floors | 14 radiators | Utica SFE5200S boiler
    Midco LNB-250 Modulating Gas Burner | EcoSteam modulating controls | 70 to 300 MBH |
    607 sf EDR connected load | Operating pressure: 0.5 oz/in2
    Four main runs (insulated) totaling 135 ft in length | All Gorton vents on mains & rads |
    A Steam Odyssey | Odyssey 2 | Odyssey 2014 | A Steam Enthusiast's Outdoor Reset Control
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 5:13 PM
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    The difference is

    which diffuser (burner head) is used. The higher rate would use an air tube with the "A" diffuser, the lower uses the "B" diffuser. The "A" diffuser also produces a longer flame than the "B" diffuser. There's also a 9-slot diffuser which splits the firing rate difference and produces a short, compact flame.

    Your Starfire is a 5-section and the actual firing rate is 245,000 BTUH (oil firing rate 1.75 GPH x 140,000= 245,000). If in doubt as to which diffuser to use, check with the Carlin people.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    This post was edited by an admin on November 24, 2012 6:48 PM.
  • Henry Henry @ 6:09 PM
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    Carlin burner

    We got stuck using a Carlin burner because it was in stock compared to a 4 week delay for a Becket. It was only problems! First it was the ignition card and then the modulation. We have never had so much problem with a burner. BTW, a very nice instal!
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 6:42 PM
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    Thanks, Henry

    which Carlin did you have? They work well for us.............
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • ChrisJ ChrisJ @ 7:15 PM
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    Beautiful

    job as always from steamhead and Gordo.

    I'm curious on your opinion as far as water heaters go. Our local supplier told me on a standard natural draft water heater he didn't recommend buying the thicker insulation as most of the heat goes up the chimney.  He said it was an ok idea on power vented models or models with a damper though.  I couldnt afford the better and went with the standard I think, 1" insulation on mine.

    I will admit, even though it only has 1" thick insulation my power vented Bradford White kept surprisingly hot water for 2 days when we lost power from Sandy.  We of course, used it sparingly.
    Weil-McLain EG-45 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures updated 6/5/14.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/thetube0a3/Boiler?authkey=Gv1sRgCImUxIqv9436MQ#
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 7:21 PM
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    Only thing I can say

    is that on heaters with less insulation, the outside feels warm.

    With these, it doesn't. Enough said.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • ChrisJ ChrisJ @ 7:25 PM
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    I see

    And that is why I asked. Because you always give clean cut answers with a good explanation.
    Weil-McLain EG-45 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures updated 6/5/14.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/thetube0a3/Boiler?authkey=Gv1sRgCImUxIqv9436MQ#
  • gerry gill gerry gill @ 9:09 PM
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    Another

    great looking job guys! Just curious, do you guys use any boiler water additives or just straight water?
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 9:23 PM
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    Just water

    the water in this area is good enough that we don't need chemicals, at least on cast-iron boilers.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • Gordo Gordo @ 12:31 AM
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    Undersized Copper Header

    The old boiler was installed by our local utility's sock puppet service arm, BGE Home. 

    They have actually told customers of ours that their steam boiler installs are done properly.

    We have yet to see any install by them where that was true.
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