Joined on November 24, 2007
Last Post on May 20, 2013
@ September 30, 2009 11:42 AM in ode to steami must have done something exceptional with our 1-pipe steam system, because i received this from a newly transplanted new yorker:
To: Nicholas Bonhamcarter
Sent: Sun, Sep 27, 2009 1:01 pm
Subject: Steam Heat
I thought since it won't be too long before you turn on the boiler that you might appreciate this ode to steam heat that I wrote to Michele many years ago and she came upon during a bit of cleaning up.
The heat came on this morning.
Dimly, and ignored, the first faint clicks and taps announced the coming like a conductor's baton on music stand metal. Next, a brilliant and insistent hiss moving up the register to a shrill squeal. Then more percussive clanging, chugging, and thumping. A panorama of images from the Age of Steam passed behind my sealed lids: the twin twenty-one foot flywheels at Lowell's Mills, 12" wide leather belts driving power looms a quarter of a mile away; the 200 foot tall chimney belching smoke and sparks at dawn; the transcontinental railway growing like a vine from Omaha westward, and from Sacramento eastward; the patient locomotives huffing in attendance as new steel tracks stretched ahead each day; fifteen pound hammers swinging overhead, three shifts, no stopping; the last spike, the Golden Spike, driven 1087 miles west of Omaha, in Brigham City, Utah; Andrew Russell's photograph of the engines, head to head, the victory of enterprise over nature.
Now the smell and taste of steam, the faint movement of convection in the curtains, and the heat is on at last. I am awake.
Best,Charliethe author has had plenty of exposure to bad steam in n.y.c.
@ September 30, 2009 10:42 AM in interesting online magazineTo view this email as a web page, click here
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@ September 30, 2009 6:30 AM in (pix) Is this correct? Exhaust on Steam Boiler passing air 24x7 in winter?i would also be concerned about whether you have enough height in the steam main above the waterline [needs 24 in.]. does the system heat properly? any water-hammer in the hartford loop?--nbc
@ September 29, 2009 4:13 PM in How do I turn on the heat ???possibly there could be a sticker on the boiler, showing what company has maintained it in the past. you should then call them and have them show you how to care for your system.
if there is no sticker, use the above "find a professional" button to see if there is anyone local to your area.
after you become familiar with its operation, you can get additional info here!--nbc
@ September 29, 2009 4:05 PM in Just because it's been that way for yearscan you please explain the effect of the gifford loop, in regards to lack of height, and depth? as i recall, it is not very different from the hartford loop.
i once saw this on a website, but now cannot get back to it!--nbc
@ September 28, 2009 4:12 PM in Difference in Vaporstats?if you have a choice, go with the 0-16 oz. if no choice, then 0-4 PSI will work, but will require a bit more adjustment, as this vaporstat can still over pressure the system, and will not be as accurate at the lowest pressures as the other.--nbc
@ September 28, 2009 4:06 PM in Air vent sizing for system with no main vent, installing 2nd ventsthat's exactly the right place for the vent, if well protected from water-hammer. if the near boiler piping is right, with low pressure, there should be no excessive wet steam-only condensate. the vent has a float in it to handle that. mounting on a menorah, or antler will give it extra protection against water-hammer.-nbc
@ September 27, 2009 3:15 PM in Boiler Replacement Q'sif you are going to rework the dry/wet return, you could always mount those vents for each dry return on the vertical drop, just underneath the elbow. some where here there is a picture of that arangement. it solves the headroom issue, but must be well above waterline height.--nbc
@ September 26, 2009 10:40 AM in Air ventshow long is a rope? they are pretty well made, and should last a long time.
if you can blow through the vents, and they close when steam has arrived, they are good to go.
i have had some hoffman vents for decades. as i said, they can only vent the riser and radiator, so they really never get subjected to the harsher conditions, in which the main vents operate. the radiator vents must never be expected to function as a substitute for the mains.otherwise, you will be paying the fuel company extra to remove the air, instead of letting it out through generous main vents.--nbc
@ September 26, 2009 7:51 AM in Air vents[url=https://www.pexsupply.com/Air-Valves-300000]https://www.pexsupply.com/Air-Valves-300000
try this site. have you tried cleaning the old ones? usually a soak in dishwashing liquid , and a shake can revive them. this is unfortunately not true for the main air vents which do all the work. i would invest in additional main vents first, and just clean the radiator vents. if you need to accomodate the 1/4 in, then just use a 1/4 X 1/8 bushing.--nbc
@ September 25, 2009 6:24 AM in Electric water feeder overfillingif you can turn off the water line leading into the auto-fill, will you see an alarming drop in the water level, over a period of days? does the solenoid valve close completely?
i had a "mysterious migration of water", when we first installed our new 1,050,000 BTU peerless. that temporary shortage of water would have caused an "over-fill" condition, if i had put an auto-fill on. since i have never trusted them, i did not, and the system [55 rads] is all gravity.
my return piping hid the water in long horizontal runs, as pressure rose in the boiler; and then came back during the off time. after we reworked the dry/wet return transition, the problem disappeared. i also put in a "reservoir tank", which takes care of the time lag between first firing and condensate return.--nbc
@ September 24, 2009 6:56 AM in Boiler Replacement Q'swhy not reuse the hoffmann 75 plus the new gorton #2 on an antler?
also suggest, piping the make up water-feed into the wet return, as far upstream from the boiler as you can. this mixes any makeup water better with the returning condensate, and reduces thermal shock, and oxygen shock.
i have no auto feed on my 1,000,000 boiler, but check it once a day. i just don't trust "auto-feed" to be not "over-feed"!
don't remember mention of smaller than nec. steam pipes-only the flue. why not see how those pipes behave with the new boiler and pressures before changing them, unless you are very sure. the increased venting will make a big improvement, as will correcting any low spots.-nbc
@ September 23, 2009 12:27 PM in Boiler Replacement Q'sthat chamber type of water-hammer arrester is for evening out a pressure pulse in a water pipe due to uneven flow caused by a loose washer in a valve, etc.
the type of water-hammer, we are protecting the vents from, is caused by a bubble of steam; which becomes completely surrounded by water. when this happens the steam suddenly condenses, and leaves a complete momentary vacuum. the surrounding water then rushes into this vacuum, and the resultant force can send the water shooting from one end of the pipe to the other at high speed! some pros have reported fittings cracked [even in our low pressure systems].
this is one reason not to allow sagging pipes in which collect pools of water, because of incomplete drainage. i like to think also that NOISE=WASTED ENERGY in any system.--nbc
@ September 23, 2009 10:00 AM in Boiler Replacement Q'sthe idea behind the 15 in clearance is to avoid placing the vent directly over [and thus in line] with a possible water-hammered slug of water shooting up the vertical pipe. the force of water-hammer is considerable, and could destroy the vent innards in a short time.
in reality, i think the menorah and the antlers are protected agaist that, by all their elbows, and each could be put on the riser without the setback.--nbc
@ September 22, 2009 9:00 PM in Learnermaybe the radiator leaks you now have are not the problem, but the symptom!
if your system is hot water, then there are various causes for leaking radiators, such as deferred maintainance--also true with steam systems. give us more information, and all of us here will be glad to help. remember a picture is worth a thousand words!--nbc
@ September 22, 2009 12:38 PM in Engineeryou may well have enough leaks from the old system, so that the problem will not be heat, but keeping people dry. just pressurize the system with 30 psi soapy water, and you will see what could be in your future. i would plan on new piping, and rads and you should be O.K.--nbc
@ September 22, 2009 12:26 PM in Boiler Replacement Q'sby all means use a gorton #2 as well as the hoffman 75. when you are running at the optimum low pressure, it helps to get the air out ASAP.wait until the new boiler, and main vent is in before buying new rad vents, as they can often be cleaned up just with dish soap and a "shake".
do you have some sort of auto fill, which could account for the excessive oxygenation, and subsequent rusting out of the feed side of the boiler; or well-water? try to do without any sort of auto feed device, or chemicals if at all possible. a boiler installed properly in 1993, should have lasted longer [30 years?].
0-16 oz vaporstat, with a good low-pressure gauge, would be best; and you need to know from dunkirk which model they recommend.
i would be concerned about the combustion air duct. what would happen if the boiler did not fire, and 0 deg. air is coming down the pipe to it?
i don't think there is anything wrong with reuse of pipe and fittings-just clean the threads before reassembly.
chimney-there should be a flue requirement in the dunkirk inst. book. if it leaves the boiler with a 7 in. pipe, it is probably not good to be so narrow higher up, although the height may compensate for the restriction. perhaps others here will chime in on the flue, and combustion air questions.--nbc
@ September 22, 2009 6:08 AM in Old One pipe Radiator Valve Seats...when we were testing our new boiler installation, i set the pressuretrol [supplied with the boiler] to its lowest setting. i then noticed it going up to 10 PSI! that was when we got a vaporstat, and a good low pressure gauge. they are really so useless for our low pressure steam applications, that i don't see why they bother to supply them!
it is true that some times, the old coal fired systems would get above 1.5 PSI, but not on a constant basis. the vacuum systems as we know, could go sub-atmospheric.--nbc
@ September 22, 2009 5:55 AM in Air vent sizing for system with no main vent, installing 2nd ventshere is something you could try: temporarily replace the vent on the farthest rad with a small valve ,and compare the speed of steam arrival between the thus "open pipe" radiator vent and the present vent. don't leave the situation unattended, as the steam can remove wallpaper in a short time if unchecked! at the same time you could check the pressure with a good low pressure gauge.
your landlord is fortunate to have such a thoughtful tenant.
is this system a counter-flow, with the mains ending at the last radiator?--nbc
@ September 21, 2009 6:13 PM in Would like to install a Vaporstat...if you do a search here for "vaporstat", the numbers will come up in other posts. all of them are made by honeywell.
the main difference is "make on rise", or "break on rise"; and of course the pressure range: either 0-16 oz., or 0-4 psi. i would choose the oz. model for the low pressures these systems thrive on. a good low pressure gauge, on the same pigtail, [gaugestore.com] is handy to fine tune the vaporstat. a new brass pigtail would save you time later, as it will be easier to keep clean!
make sure that your main [not radiator ] venting is generous as well, to reduce short-cycling.--nbc
@ September 21, 2009 5:16 PM in Air vent sizing for system with no main vent, installing 2nd ventswhy is it impossible to add a main vent? the system could burn 25% less fuel if properly maintained, which would include installing main vents, and checking other things!
i would be leary of drilling into radiators, unless you have had practice, especially as it sounds as though your pressure is too high! if theu are tube type radiators, the wall thinness can make it difficult to get enough threads for a good purchase. surely there must be a way.--nbc
@ September 19, 2009 7:39 AM in sizing for new boilerhow were those extra radiators "added in"? as far as i can see, everything connected to the boiler [whether working well or not] should be included in the EDR calcs. if the system is relatively compact and doesn't contain any excessively long pipe runs; then the sizing could be smaller.
when you get your new boiler in, with vaporstat, and new main venting, you will probably find that those cold radiators spring back to life, so they definitely need to be part of the calc.
double check the piping requirements for the dunkirk, as i seem to remember problems with a misprinted inst. manual, which undersized the piping.
someone here [Boilerpro?] has argued for the benefit of undersizing, so you might want to do a search.--nbc