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nicholas bonham-carter

nicholas bonham-carter

Joined on November 24, 2007

Last Post on April 23, 2014

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Check valve

@ April 23, 2014 5:12 AM in Steam check valve hammering

What is the height of the main above the waterline?
If all of the radiator traps are functioning, along with the crossovers, and the pressure is limited to 6 ounces with a vaporstat, then you could go with gravity. Most likely, if the house is of a certain age, the original installation would have been all gravity, so why not return it to its original configuration.
Make some changes in the returns, to bypass the condensate tank, and pump, and see if there isn't some improvement, with a vaporstat.--NBC

Oriffice control

@ April 21, 2014 2:01 PM in Twin Steam Boilers - 4 Stages of Firing Rates

Wouldn't it be easier to control the steam flow by inlet valve adjustment, and then remove the valve handle. Or is that not exact enough?
Changing the orifices to readjust could be a bit of a chore, in the future.
This thread is one of the most interesting in quite a while, as it deals with multi-boiler installations, along with vacuum systems.
The vacuum pump could be wired into the control circuit, so that by the time the boiler is firing, there is already a strong enough vacuum to speed the steam. In the shoulder season where you may want low temperature steam, the control could maintain the vacuum in an inverse of the outside temperature:
Cool weather-deep vacuum,
Cold weather-less intense vacuum.--NBC

Dude where's my skimming port!

@ April 20, 2014 11:59 AM in Skimmer valve failed!?

It may be plugged, and behind the knockout to the left of the upper gauge cock.
If so then you will have to use the pressure relief valve tapping--NBC

Press tool joints for steam?

@ April 19, 2014 11:14 AM in Peerless WBV03 Steam Boiler Warranty

I think there would be too much expansion and contraction for a copper pressed-joint header on a steam boiler, but you could always try it, and see. Threaded steel pipe is better in that regard.
Yes, I would use both risers, with a larger diameter drop header, as it would make the final fitting easier especially if done by the homeowner. The drop header has at least two advantages that I can think of:
It really can absorb the stresses of expansion and contraction before they are transmitted into the boiler block. The HO's peerless was installed using only one riser, so the swing joints on it were probably sufficient. With two, then the extra protection of the drop header is better.
It can also isolate the residual oils left over from installation, so they will not drain back into the boiler. In skimming, you could use the Peerless method of simmering Arm&Hammer washing soda first, and then add water slowly to let the level rise up to the horizontal connection of the header, and slowly overflow. A separate small drain in the equalizer at waterline height is needed for this. The oil is going to leave the boiler more quickly, and completely, if it is submerged. During the first few weeks of operation, the equalizer waterline drain valve can be opened to drain off any extra oil accumulation.--NBC

Replacing a peerless

@ April 19, 2014 8:04 AM in Peerless WBV03 Steam Boiler Warranty

This would be the time to measure all your radiators, and calculate their heat capacity (EDR ), so that you know whether the boiler is correctly sized for the system.
You may also want to consider a switch to gas if it is available, which would require a different burner.
Make sure the new main vent is mounted on an antler with an elbow to protect it from water-hammer.
The new boiler will need to be cleaned (skimming), so discuss with your installer who will do that 6 hour job.
Save the parts from the old boiler, (sight glass, etc) in case you may need them in the future.--NBC

Peerless demise

@ April 18, 2014 11:40 PM in Peerless WBV03 Steam Boiler Warranty

Usually the warranty is through the installing contractor, or another Peerless approved installer. Since you say the LWCO failed, and allowed the boiler to run while dry, I would think that Peerless would not honor a warranty in such a case. What caused the LWCO to fail? If it was lack of maintenance, then the installer who last performed any maintenance in the last year, if he did not follow the Peerless maintenance instructions exactly., could be liable for such an oversight.
If whatever maintenance which was performed, was done by you the homeowner, then you probably are SOOL.
Post some pictures of the installation piping, so that we may see any problems which should be corrected when the replacement boiler is installed.--NBC

2-stage thermostat

@ April 18, 2014 9:08 AM in Twin Steam Boilers - 4 Stages of Firing Rates

I just thought that the 2-stage thermostat could control 2 boilers (without hi-lo firing), using the vaporstat as an upper limit for the lag boiler. With essentially 4 boilers, the 2- stage might not work.
Since you can get to 4 ounces on just one boiler (low fire), would you ever consider an asymmetrical boiler setup, with the lag boiler sized to provide sub-atmospheric pressures, and the lead boiler being maybe twice the capacity? What is the relationship between the heat loss of the building and the EDR of the system. Another words could the 150 degree steam keep up with the heat-loss?--NBC

4 stages

@ April 18, 2014 7:52 AM in Twin Steam Boilers - 4 Stages of Firing Rates

That's a wonderful setup, and I hope you can give us better pictures sometime soon, before the insulation goes on.
How are the 4 stages controlled - pressure, thermostat?
Have you checked the combustion while running on low-fire? That seems to be the main drawback to atmospheric boilers - the apparent inefficiency of variable firing rates. The standby losses can always be controlled by an electrical damper.--NBC

Rad=radiator

@ April 17, 2014 11:11 AM in Need advice/ help for new heating system

Sorry for the jargon.
It does seem that you have a hot water heating system with radiators.
When that system was first installed, all the house would have been made to heat evenly, and economically; or a new installer would have been found. Possibly, some error in the installation of the new boiler, or the separate zones has caused the system not to function properly.
Have a look at the list of contractors in the "find a contractor" button here and see if anyone is close. If Steamhead is available, and not too far away, you would be advised by one of the best experts here.
As regards to mini split Fujistsu systems, they are good for air-conditioning, and cool weather heating. When it is very cold out, their ability to suck heat out of the air becomes limited. Gas powered heat would be the cheapest per BTU. -NBC

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
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