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nicholas bonham-carter

nicholas bonham-carter

Joined on November 24, 2007

Last Post on September 14, 2014

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User verification

@ September 14, 2014 1:46 PM in PLEASE READ: New site going up this week.

I hope the math problems will not be harder for user verification!--NBC

Tag team boilers

@ September 14, 2014 1:44 PM in Piping Multiple LP steam boileers

The manufacturers instructions will have some specific instructions for piping two boilers together.
Are these serving different areas of the building? It would be important to keep the pressure as low (ounces), as possible, so as to prevent any flow the rough the returns into the inactive boiler. They could be staged on a vaporstat, with both firing at zero pressure, and then the lag cutting out at 4 ounces or so. Ample main venting is a must here at those low pressures.
I hope you have sized them correctly by the EDR of the radiation!--NBC

Mysterious water disappearance

@ September 13, 2014 7:47 AM in Constantly filling steam furnace

The definitive test for finding a boiler leak is overfilling it above the top when cold, and letting it sit like that for a day. Any leaks in it will be seen underneath or in the firebox.
Why don't you do that first, and then report the results.
There could also be some sort of vacuum situation which holds the water up in the returns, but check for a leak first.--NBC

Ideal solution

@ September 12, 2014 8:35 AM in Trying to correct bad near boiler piping

Hap you hit the nail on the head with the drop header suggestion. It will make everything much easier, and produce dry steam as well.
If this is a welded header, then the drop header will give the yielding swing joints the boiler needs to avoid having the sections torn apart.--NBC

Advantages of this forum

@ September 12, 2014 8:32 AM in Some help with sq.ft and boiler recommendation please

If you click on Joe's name, you will get a list of all of his postings on this site.
If you read a number of them, you will understand that he is a true steam expert, who is also a good communicator.
You would be better served getting this job right, done by someone with easily verified talents, rather than choosing someone else who may be a shot in the dark.--NBC

Leaky radiator

@ September 11, 2014 8:14 AM in hotelman

What is your location?
I would advise looking for a good used rad to replace that one. Surely someone here has one for sale. Make sure you get one for hot water or 2-pipe steam, as the end plugs are very difficult to remove.
Check your boiler settings and make sure that the pressure is not going over 6 ounces, and the rest of the radiators will not join the leakers brigade!--NBC

Potential legionella?

@ September 10, 2014 11:27 PM in 10 story open system water treatment

When we think of an open system, it is a system with shared heating, and hot water fluids. The large volume, and slow movement of water on its way to the unsuspecting occupant, is likely to have disastrous effects (legionnaires disease).
Is this what you are describing?--NBC

Water level

@ September 10, 2014 4:57 AM in Steam boiler loses water when off.

Good idea, and if you use a longer transparent hose,hung up high on the ceiling, you can see how high the water level rises in the wet returns at the pressure which is set on the pressuretrol.
This will demonstrate the importance of keeping the pressure low.--NBC

Overzealous auto feed

@ September 10, 2014 4:42 AM in Trying to correct bad near boiler piping

Try running it for a week or so with the feeder valved off to see if the waterline behaves itself.
Was the boiler ever cleaned when first installed? If not then teach the owner how to skim for a few long sessions.
If you can move the riser connection, it will get the steam and water droplets flowing in the same direction, which should make the equalizer drain most of the water.
What observed and verified (by gauge) pressure is the system attaining?--NBC

Unusual piping arrangement

@ September 10, 2014 4:29 AM in burner conversion Peerless EC/ECT via Carlin EZ pro?

Does the system leak, and if so where? I would overfill the boiler, and let it sit for a couple of days to see if there are any leaks in the boiler. Inspect the returns as well during this test period.
It looks like the PRV has been leaking for quite a while, probably due to over-pressure or lack of maintenance, so that should be changed for a new one.
The piping is most unusual with its 3 equalizers, and I wonder if the extras were put in later to compensate for wet steam, or whether they are left over from the original boiler installation. A little more height in the risers (above the waterline) would have been nice, but it should work on the low pressures we advise here. Get a good low-pressure 0-3 psi gauge on with the pressuretrol to verify its accuracy. Measure the riser diameters to see that they are the sizes recommended by Peerless.
Assuming any leaks are not pointing to a terminal condition, it should be a candidate for a gas gun. Find out what modern boiler models would work with that burner, so you know what to replace the boiler with when its time comes in the future.
The built in radiators should be able to keep things warm through radiation, and convection, if their covers permit airflow. It appears that they have some insulation, and reflective barrier behind them which is good.
Definitely get some insulation on all the supply pipes. Even bats of fiberglass will be better than nothing, and can be removed for any latter pipe work.--NBC

Bad piping-watery rads

@ September 9, 2014 9:58 PM in Trying to correct bad near boiler piping

What about bringing the second riser over to the side it should have been connected to in the beginning?
Your solution may work, but you should have a tap on each side of the main connection, for real water removal.
Was this boiler ever skimmed?
Filling up a dozen or more radiators to the point of water spraying out of the vents intakes a lot of water, so where is that water coming from-auto-over-feed gone wild?
When the system is at rest, is the waterline at a normal height?--NBC

How much force

@ September 9, 2014 9:45 PM in Break the old elbow?

All this wrenching can only result in some other pipe down the line being twisted, and then you will once again be back into the crawl space with spiders, and no ventilation for a long time.
The good thing about cutting and removing the nipples from their respective fittings is the relatively gentle use of force on the rest of the piping.--NBC

Clearance problems

@ September 8, 2014 11:23 PM in Break the old elbow?

I don't see enough clearance for replacement of the union if it is cracked off. Now I think I would remove the whole corner from tee to tee.--NBC

Hot water loop

@ September 8, 2014 10:37 AM in One Pipe Main Venting Question

Try here

End of the line rads cold

@ September 8, 2014 10:34 AM in two remote radiators not working

Is this a parallel flow or counter flow system?
What sort of main vents are on the dry returns if parallel?
Can you try the open vent test? You need a helper to switch off the boiler when steam arrives.
If your pressure is above 1.5 psi, some radiator vents will not work.--NBC

Replacing a union

@ September 8, 2014 10:30 AM in Break the old elbow?

I would cut the pipes between the elbow and the tee. Make small axial cuts in each remaining nipple fragment, and tap it inwards to get the pieces out of the fitting.
Assemble everything before going into the crawl space.--NBC

The need for a new post

@ September 7, 2014 12:39 AM in 2nd floor cold, is it the pipe sizes?

That's one of the problems with posting on an old thread.
There is a buy-sell section here, and maybe a post there will find what you need.--NBC

Wet steam

@ September 5, 2014 6:06 AM in Unbalanced Steam System?????????

Probably, the 2 boiler piping setup worked imperfectly, but the symptoms were masked by the separate thermostats. If both had been connected to one thermostat, the symptoms would have been the same.
Do you see much movement in the waterline while the boiler is firing? The boiler may never have been cleaned properly when it was first installed (see skimming). Dirty water could produce a lot of wet steam for the ground floor, which makes those radiators slower to heat up. By the time the thermostat is satisfied, the upstairs is roasting. So first step would be to clean the boiler (not with chemicals!).
What sort of radiator vents are you using? Proper venting requires large main vents, and slower radiator vents (Hoffman 40). The pressure should be set as low as possible, and verified with a low pressure (0-3 psi) gauge.
Have you looked up the specs for the boiler (Peerless ?), to see whether that one 2 in.riser is adequate? Certainly the joining of returns above the waterline is incorrect.
Wrap some insulation around the pipes to cut down further on the wet steam problem.--NBC

Sizing the new boiler

@ September 4, 2014 8:59 PM in burner conversion Peerless EC/ECT via Carlin EZ pro?

If you replace the boiler, then you must measure the EDR of the radiators, in order to make the selection.
If you replace the oil burner, with a gas gun, then still some EDR calculations are required to determine the size, and settings of the new burner. A burner will give you more flexibility, as far as matching the new burner to the radiation load, which an atmospheric does not. Steam systems are always sized to the amount of radiation, and not the heat loss. When you have tightened up the envelope, you will find the boiler runs less.--NBC

Simultaneous arrival of steam

@ September 4, 2014 8:50 PM in Unbalanced Steam System?????????

If you have an IR camera, then you an do a bit of running as steam is rising and capture the heat situation for some representative radiators on each floor. Choose the fastest and slowest. They should all get steam at the same time, when you are done.--NBC

Long vent

@ September 3, 2014 11:51 PM in mod con with longest allowable 4" pvc venting

If you have to go up the chimney with the new vent pipe, can you use a larger diameter poly-pipe in the chimney?--NBC

Improper installation

@ September 3, 2014 11:33 AM in Homeonwer

Why not post some pictures first here, and then get comments on the installation.
Is this one-pipe, or two-pipe?
Describe all the symptoms you are having, if you have been able to run the boiler.
Frequently the court case ends up with the installer being given a chance to rectify his mistakes.
A description of what should have been done , included in a letter from your lawyer would probably get some response.
Do a search for "clammy", as I think he is from your area.
This is probably the busiest time for steam professionals, as people begin to fire up their systems.--NBC
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