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nicholas bonham-carter

nicholas bonham-carter

Joined on November 24, 2007

Last Post on April 16, 2014

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Bulky pressuretrol

@ April 16, 2014 1:27 PM in Intermittent issue with Pressuretrol

While you have the pressuretrol disconnected, for pigtail cleaning, see if the linkage inside seems to move freely. Maybe a bit of lubrication is needed. Also check the tightness of the electrical crimped on connections. Why don't they put led tell tail lights on all the safety controls, so you can see at a glance what state they are in?
I would change the settings to 2 with a diff of .5.--NBC

Reviving this thread

@ April 16, 2014 7:43 AM in Replacement Dunham traps

Now for another question on vacuum systems. As the water will boil at lower temperatures, does this not interfere with the trap temperature setting? In other words, if the trap has been designed to close at 210deg for use in a standard 2-pipe system; then won't the lower temperature of a Dunham vacuum system allow the cooler steam out into the returns., and maybe even out of the air eliminator?
Maybe this is why the crossover traps from Dunham were different from the standard 1E traps.--NBC

Replacement parts

@ April 14, 2014 10:48 PM in Mid range boilers

How close are you to the distributor for the boilers you were quoted?
Most boilers are of similar longevity, so the deciding factor is how well they have been installed. Some heat exchangers are more favored than others (fire-tube), but the key ingredient is the installation, and continuing maintenance.--NBC

The other question is....

@ April 14, 2014 10:39 PM in Am I venting my mains too fast?

Why is the short run so slow?
Five feet with a Gorton 2 at the end should give you almost instantaneous steam arrival.
Let's see the pictures of your boiler steam supply piping, where the problem may originate.
The mains should be vented at maximum capacity, plus one vent. You can never over vent.
If the boiler is very undersized, then that is another problem, and cannot be compensated for with inadequate venting, here and there.--NBC

Slow rads

@ April 14, 2014 10:54 AM in Am I venting my mains too fast?

I would think that 5 foot section should get steam to the rads more quickly than 5 minutes, so how is the piping on the boiler? Is the boiler undersized? Do you see much pressure on the gauge (at least 2 ounces)? Pictures would help.
If you turn off the rads on the 5 ft line, will the steam get to the end of the 50 ft line more quickly? --NBC

The auto feeder from hell

@ April 9, 2014 11:05 PM in Questions regarding the main vent and auto water feeder that cuts off the boiler every 10 minutes

Most auto feeders are the work of the devil, but the one which pauses everything every 10 minutes is especially evil. It only has a benefit in a badly-piped (not by the instructions) boiler, where the water can be blown out of the boiler into the rest of the system, causing a low-water condition.
If your boiler is well piped with both risers, a proper header,, and has been properly skimmed, then you will have no problem with an unstable waterline. In that case, choose another LWCO without that feature. In any case, I feel that the auto-feed should be valved off most of the time, and the boiler water-level checked every week in person. If you have low water more than once a year, then there must be a leak somewhere.--NBC

Good analogy mr tsakh!

@ April 9, 2014 10:52 PM in Mid range boilers

Unfortunately too many people think of the boiler as "plug and play", and only after choosing one based on price, realize the limitations of the cheap installer.--NBC

Dealing with oversized boiler

@ April 9, 2014 10:26 AM in Is my steam boiler way oversized?

I would try to get the supply piping straightened out first, and make sure with a low-pressure gauge, that the venting was adequate, (I have 18 Gorton 2's on a 1,050,000 boiler with 55 rads).
Was a combustion test ever done? Is the burner 2-stage?
A boiler that big is difficult to move without complete disassembly. If you were to replace it, a pair of smaller 200 MBTU boilers, staged on pressure, might be more economical.
Is gas available?--NBC

Budget for boiler

@ April 9, 2014 10:14 AM in Mid range boilers

Download the SlantFin heat loss app from their website, and find out what your heat loss is. I presume you have hot water heat?
The Lochinvar solution may be a good fit for you. It is more like a cast iron boiler in price, but is lighter and also has provision for outdoor reset. It cannot use a plastic vent, so if you need that option, you must go with a mod-con, and they are more expensive, and need regular servicing to keep them in operating condition.
Most of the cost of a new boiler is in the installation, which should be done by an experienced hydronic professional, and he may have his own preferences, based on which makes are available in your area.--NBC

Down rating the burner?

@ April 8, 2014 11:28 PM in Is my steam boiler way oversized?

If you can find a good steam man, or burner man, maybe the burner could be derated a bit for some savings.
Even more important would be making sure the air can get out through the main venting system.
Is this a 1-pipe, or 2- pipe system?--NBC

Venting choices

@ April 8, 2014 11:21 PM in Burnham boiler for Chicago 3-flat

I am sure you will be alright with Gorton 2's. The Hoffman have much less capacity for venting.
Choosing vents is not a place to try for false economy. Your system could be burning an extra 15% with the wrong vents. I don't know what the purpose of the control system you have was, but it was not giving your system economy, or comfort. This summer will be a good time to rectify all of these problems. Too bad you were not able to get this advice at the beginning of last winter, and then you would have saved a lot.--NBC

Radiator vent

@ April 7, 2014 10:51 AM in Inlet valve banging when closed, hissing when open

Post a picture of that vent, so we can determine the make. Those vents with floats will shut off when upside down, but some cheapies may not. --NBC

Outdoor control

@ April 7, 2014 10:47 AM in Burnham boiler for Chicago 3-flat

The most effective steam control for steam is the Tekmar 279, which uses indoor and outdoor sensors to time the boiler firing periods. It can only be used on a system in perfect balance, so best to get things like venting up to scratch. I think bad venting and pressures over 8 ounces could add 15% to you fuel use.
On my 55 rad system, I use a Honeywell Visionpro with remote indoor sensor, using the coldest bedroom of the building as a control point. Although it has no outdoor sensor capabilities, it seems to work well, for an eighth of the price, and now comes in internet enabled favors.
I do not use setbacks, so therefore set a lower constant temperature.--NBC

Disinterested super

@ April 6, 2014 6:57 PM in Inlet valve banging when closed, hissing when open

Try leaving the inlet valve fully open, and rotate the air vent so it points down.
It sounds as though the pressure may be high enough to force steam through the closed valve, and when the condensate builds up, causes water-hammer.
Se if you can go above the super with your complaints-maybe to the person who signs his check, and would like to know that deferred maintenance is costing him money.--NBC

The sound of radiator vents

@ April 5, 2014 3:03 PM in Bad new gorton valves?

If your main vents are adequate, pressure low, and the boiler not oversized, then they should be silent.--NBC

Looking for efficiency

@ April 5, 2014 3:00 PM in old steam system replacement

Even if the boiler is not leaking now, with that mileage on it it may soon be time for a replacement. Is this 1-pipe or 2-pipe?2
Download the SlantFin heat loss app from their website, and find out what your heat loss is. Then download the radiator sizing chart and calculate the EDR of your radiators. Compare the btu of the heat loss with the total EDR of the radiators, and see how they compare. Next look at the rating of your boiler, from the plate on it and see if it is oversized for the EDR of the radiators.
If your boiler is oversized by a sizeable percentage, then a new correctly sized boiler would save money. Is the present boiler piped properly? If not then that will be a fuel wasting situation. Is the pressure lower than 2 psi (basic function, or lower than 8 ounces for economy, and comfort)? Is the venting in the system adequate, or are you burning extra fuel to squeeeeeze the air out of some constipated little vents?
Conversion to hydro air may not be cost effective, as radiators need no electricity. Mini split units would provide the cooling you would like.
Post some pictures of your boiler and it's piping for us to see.--NBC

Well said Fred

@ April 4, 2014 11:35 PM in how should I prepare the system for summer?

Agreed with your well described procedures.
Anyway we love our steam boilers and systems, so love to make them last by these simple procedures.--NBC

Traps on 1-pipe??

@ April 4, 2014 5:29 PM in Need used or cheap commercial steam boiler

How can 1-pipe have any traps or vacuum controls? Best to try to return the system to its original state.--NBC


@ April 4, 2014 5:26 PM in Steam boiler sizing dilemma

Go with the one whose Sq ft of steam rating most closely matches the total of your EDR-the in4. The boiler rating already includes the pickup factor.
Spend the money saved by that choice on a nice drop header, using both tappings out of the boiler, and a larger header. Don't forget the installation of large main vents.
Try doing without the 5 degree setback and select a lower constant temperature.--NBC

Webster system

@ April 3, 2014 11:05 PM in Spewing air check! What to do?

If this has suddenly happened, I would check the pressure, and verify it to be only a few ounces. Possibly the pigtail has plugged up, and caused the vaporstat to not feel the pressure.--NBC

Copper problems

@ April 2, 2014 11:02 PM in Copper Joint that leaks in main pipe Solution please

It would be best to replace the copper with iron pipe., which can withstand the water-hammer which apparently you can do nothing about.
The expansion and contraction with temperature changes of copper pipe is so great as to weaken the joints.
Post some pictures of your boiler and it's piping, and let's devise a plan to cure the water-hammer.--NBC

No steam in the UK

@ April 2, 2014 10:55 PM in Nest for the UK

The nest is a good-looking piece of wall jewelry which, now having been established here , can be exported to other countries, whether it really works or not.
There is still the problem with steam control.--NBC
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