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    $4200k for an install of gas powered steam boiler. (24 Posts)

  • Cdav Cdav @ 11:15 AM
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    $$$$k for an install of gas powered steam boiler.

    I have to replace my Weil McClean boiler and my contractor quoted the above price for a Burnham (about 140k btu) complete install. One day after he said he couldn't find a Burnham in the area and said he would get a Smith instead because it was also a very good brand. I agreed to the Smith because I see it recommendation on this site. He showed up with a Crown BSI and told me that he couldn't fine the Smith and that Crown is comparable to the Burnham and Smith. Here are my questions: 1) Are these boilers comparable? 2) Is the above price reasonable for Burnham or Smith or Crown? Boiler is in the basement and it is a one pipe system.

    This post was edited by an admin on December 6, 2012 9:37 AM.
  • Paul48 Paul48 @ 12:24 PM
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    Can't discuss pricing, but you can do the math.Look at the price of the boilers and then figure labor , materials, insurance. He should not have just shown up with a boiler that you did not approve. Better questions are.....Does the boilers rated steam output match the combined EDR of all the radiators in the home? Will it be installed to factory specification? Will venting be addressed? Will the wet return be replaced? Is the chimney lined? There's a lot more to a good steam install than just throwing a boiler in.
    This post was edited by an admin on December 5, 2012 12:27 PM.
  • Cdav Cdav @ 2:10 PM
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    Point taken....

    and I assume installation will be to spec. My concern was more that the quote didn't go down with the change in boiler and from what I've read Crown, although a seems to be a good boiler, may not be the same level as smith and burnham. I have watched them work and it's no easy task getting a boiler in and out of my basement so maybe they earned every penny. As far as your questions, I will be asking those of the contractor - thanks for the questions.
  • Paul48 Paul48 @ 2:25 PM
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    he survey all the radiators in the house to come up with a total EDR? If not, he is just guessing at the size, or matching what was there( maybe someone elses mistake). Insist that the boiler be piped to the manufacturers specs in the I&O manual. You should have had a contract stating that.No copper above the water line! Exactly to manufacturers specs! No deviation is acceptable. Let them know. If the manufacturer specs 2.5" minimum, 2" is not good enough. Pull up the I&O manual, make copies of the near-boiler piping, and ask them if they would like a copy to follow.
    This post was edited by an admin on December 5, 2012 2:31 PM.
  • RobG RobG @ 3:51 PM
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    Boiler Replacement

    For your own sake take pictures as the installation progresses and post them here ASAP. The time to get problems with the install fixed is while the techs are there, not after they leave.
  • Steve Steve @ 9:13 PM
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    If you're in Sandy affected area

    That would explain the problem in getting a particular type of boiler
    As others have posted it is the installation that really matters
  • ChrisJ ChrisJ @ 10:31 PM
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    Brand of boiler

    It doesn't matter what name is on your boiler, they are all about the same.  What does matter is who sizes it and installs it.

    There are very few guys I would trust to install a steam boiler for me.  And the few I would trust, are on this forum.
    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.
  • Paul48 Paul48 @ 11:27 PM
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    I could be wrong, but it smells of a "Throw it in, collect the cash, and run". You can get a good job done, if you can slow them down before the job starts, and make sure they understand what is expected. Unfortunately, most homeowners assume the installers know what they are doing. They are usually left with an unopened I&O packet, and a pile of crap in the basement. It's sad, and should be prosecutable.
  • Cdav Cdav @ 9:36 AM
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    Looking good

    Paul, I didn't see them measure the EDRs and I think you are right with your replace statement. I do think that this guy is reputable and will fix any issues...fingers crossed. You are right that as a homeowner you do assume that the installer is an expert. It looks good and it heats the place very fast but it bangs hard for the first few minutes of steam coming which I think is a pitching issue that has to be fixed. Please see the pictures and comments are welcomed.
  • Paul48 Paul48 @ 10:53 AM
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    Ask him to fix the header. He has created a collection point for condensate by reducing it like that. He should reduce it at the elbow where it makes the turn for the equalizer(use a reducing el, don't bush a standard el). Other than that it's not bad.Make sure you have the documentation for everything. Is the water in the sightglass clean? The smallest amount of oil left in the water will create sloppy steam. Someone posted a video here in the steam section, not too long ago, that shows what happens with a ridiculously small amount added. If you can find it, it's quite an eye-opener.
    This post was edited by an admin on December 6, 2012 11:02 AM.
  • SWEI SWEI @ 11:02 AM
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    Is it big enough?

    Also wondering if there might be something like a bullhead tee above that system riser.
    This post was edited by an admin on December 6, 2012 11:04 AM.
  • Paul48 Paul48 @ 11:06 AM
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    He doesn't appear to have reduced the size at the boiler tapping. Larger would have been better, but it may be within the manufacturers specs.
  • Cdav Cdav @ 11:09 AM
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    Water in the glass is clean. I noticed today that the boiler calls for water when at normal operation the water level goes down as steam is produced. When the water returns to the boiler after the system reaches the desired temperature and starts to cool the water in the glass goes all the way up where you can't see the level because of the excess water the boiler called for. I had to take water out. He has to fix that and will tell him about the header.
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 11:04 AM
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    Checking the final installation

    Check those pipe diameters on the header, as it looks like the riser may have been bushed down. The manual will specify the correct size pipe to use.--NBC
    Turn off the water supply to the auto feeder for at least the first month. Mark the level in the sight glass using clothes pins on the rods. Check the level every day. This is the time to discover any leaks, or unstable water lines!
    This post was edited by an admin on December 6, 2012 11:14 AM.
  • Paul48 Paul48 @ 11:22 AM
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    Up to the BSI 172, with single supply risers, it calls for a 2" header.
  • Dave in QCA Dave in QCA @ 11:41 AM
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    Close but no banana

    First, it does look like the installer knows steam.  But he has missed a critical point.  The horizontal header piping is supposed to all be 2".  It is not supposed to reduce anywhere in the horizontal travel.  The equalizer can be 1 1/2".   It is OK to use a reducing elbow or a bell reducer below that. 

    In the normal operationg of the header, there will be some water, condensation, or spray thrown up from the boiler riser.  It must be able to flow unimpeded to the equalizer.  Reducing at the tee the way he did creates a little bit of a dam and will hold water in the 2" section.  When you consider the velocity that the steam is traveling, it is going to catch some of that pool of condensate and throw it up the building header.  There is a reason that the manufacturer called this out and it is very clearly shown on page 15 of the manual.  See at this link. 
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
  • Bio Bio @ 11:44 AM
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    As mention above header was reduced, hope you did not make final payment, see manufacturer's schematics, good luck
  • Cdav Cdav @ 12:00 PM
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    You guys are correct and I will show him.
  • ChrisJ ChrisJ @ 12:19 PM
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    The good news is its easy to fix and overall the install went well assuming the boiler is matched to the amount of radiation you have.

    After he fixes the header I would say your next step is a lot of skimming to get all of the oils out ( I had to skim 7 times).  After that I would monitor your PH closely and add 1 or 2 Rectorseal Steamaster tablets to reduce corrosion.
    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.
  • SWEI SWEI @ 12:22 PM
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    one more picture?

    Top of the system riser where it hits the main(s)?
  • Paul48 Paul48 @ 1:44 PM
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    Oh ye of little faith!
  • Cdav Cdav @ 4:16 PM
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    Pictures you requested

    Swei, here you go.
  • SWEI SWEI @ 8:54 PM
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    all clear

    No bullhead worries!

    Faith?  After seeing so many examples of truly boneheaded pesudo-piping?
  • Paul48 Paul48 @ 9:27 PM
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    laughing, because I know what you were looking for. Yep....many hack jobs.
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