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nicholas bonham-carter

nicholas bonham-carter

Joined on November 24, 2007

Last Post on April 18, 2014

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@ 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

used boilers

@ April 2, 2014 8:39 PM in Need used or cheap commercial steam boiler

I don"t think this is such a wild and untenable idea, as long as there is a boiler angel to do most of the grunt work. as we all know, the labor cost of a replacement is a great part of the price of the whole.
have a look in the for sale ads here and see if anyone has a lightly used oiler for sale. maybe place an advert there as well "looking for oil boiler"--NBC

flushing the boiler, and the lwco

@ April 2, 2014 8:34 PM in steam boiler maintenance

a float style LWCO should be flushed out once a month at a minimum, and preferably weekly, in view of its important job.
the boiler itself should be blown down through the main drain once a month as well, and will loose more water than the LWCO. this will hopefully remove any buildup of calcium in the bottom of the boiler.
when that water is replaced, do so at a time when the boiler can fire, and heat up, driving out the oxygen.--NBC

used boilers

@ April 2, 2014 6:31 PM in Need used or cheap commercial steam boiler

since many people are switching from oil to gas, there must be some used ones around which have been replaced by atmospherics.
a pair of used boilers stage-fired on pressure, may be very economical to run. the previous owners might get a tax deduction for their boiler donation.--NBC

checking the vents

@ April 2, 2014 6:23 PM in Burnham boiler for Chicago 3-flat

I am sure there is some other reason for their lack of venting. to check, turn the boiler off, and then switch the boiler on. if and when you see steam, switch the boiler back off. no steam means a water locked dry return.
I suspect a water pocket in a saggy pipe to be the cause. I like gorton 2's because of their capacity, although some have used steam traps, in place of standard main vents. apparently they have better thermal characteristics.
low pressure 0-3 psi gauges come from

Replacement sections?

@ April 2, 2014 1:48 PM in Need used or cheap commercial steam boiler

Are replacement sections still available, or would two 375 MBTU (or three 250's) be easier to install. Staging would save some fuel possibly. Is gas available?
What sort of radiation is now there?--NBC

steaming vent

@ April 1, 2014 12:48 PM in Riser Venting damaging ceiling

probably the pressure is too high for the vent to close completely, even with a brand new vent. get your landlord to check the boiler pressure to be under 2 PSI.--NBC

rad reuse

@ April 1, 2014 12:44 PM in Hot water or Steam CI Rad

as I do not see any upper connections in the sections, I think it is steam only.
are you contemplating a switch of your heating system from steam to hot water?
if you are choosing radiators for another system, make sure that the ones you get will be big enough to heat the room at the reduced water temperature.--NBC

Too much water blown up

@ March 30, 2014 11:05 PM in Steam boiler banging, hissing and water noise

The real cause, of your gurgling radiators, I think is due to the improper boiler piping, which is blowing a lot more water up into the mains with the steam.
The second problem of hissing radiator vents is due to excessive pressure coupled with inadequate main venting. Loud vents are a cry for help from the system. They are also a godsend for the fuel supplier who is supplying you more than you need to heat the house .
If you can correct the piping, and keep your back-pressure of venting below 2 ounces, and your steam pressure under 6 ounces, then you will have real comfort and economy.
You will need a 0-3 psi gauge to monitor these conditions.--NBC

More new parts needed

@ March 28, 2014 11:29 PM in Burnham boiler for Chicago 3-flat

You should get a vaporstat to replace the present inoperative pressuretrol, along with a low pressure gauge (0-3 PSI).
When you get back to a conventional control system, you will have to use the new gauge to see when to stop adding main vents.
Be prepared for an audit (new meter) from the gas company when your fuel consumption drops dramatically as a result of curing all these defects. Let us know how much you save next winter.--NBC


@ March 27, 2014 7:53 AM in Removing and loosening painted radiator condensate trap covers

What's the link to that video?
Videos could have their own area here, and if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video will be a whole chapter!--NBC

Reading assignments

@ March 27, 2014 7:50 AM in Burnham boiler for Chicago 3-flat

Get " the lost art of steam heating" as well, as many pros here will reference page numbers from that.
There is a big difference between "new vents", and ones of the correct capacity.
Have your fuel bills been high?--NBC

Unusual steam control system

@ March 27, 2014 12:40 AM in Burnham boiler for Chicago 3-flat

Those vents are a start, but be prepared to put either larger ones on, or several more on a manifold (antler), in order to let the air out easily.
Your control system is most unusual, and should be replaced with a standard steam-capable thermostat, wired through the LWCO, and the pressuretrol. I can't imagine how much fuel has been wasted by the present arrangement, in addition to the waste of burning extra fuel to pump the air out at the start of each firing cycle.--NBC

Cost of repair

@ March 26, 2014 10:29 AM in Do you ever get sick of looking

You can point out as well that the cost of repiping must include the disassembly of the improper piping. This is sometimes rusted in place if the boiler has been in use for a few years, before the owners discover that steam should not be uneven, fuel hungry, noisy, etc.
I think the boiler manufactures should be more careful who installs there boilers, and how it is done. A sticker notifying the owner of this website might help unknowlegeble owners get some information more quickly, and detect a bad installation.
Maybe a cd with a video of correct piping would be seen by the installer, and the owner. It's very hard to get the knucklehead to correct his work a few years later.--NBC

short-cycling-oversized boiler

@ March 24, 2014 5:59 PM in Short Cycling Despite First Time Main Vents Installed

if the short-cycling were happening shortly after start-up, then I would suspect the venting to be insufficient, but in this case the cycling starts up when all the pipes are warmed up, and full of steam.
luckily, you may be able to down-fire the boiler to correct this. 
the piping on the boiler is very unusual, and lacks a proper equalizer, so that may have something to do with it as well. have a look at the manual for the peerless boiler, and compare what you have, with what they require.
try putting a jumper on the terminals which would be connected to the thermostat,  [to simulate a call for heat], and see if the cycling disappears. if you are interested in fuel economy, have the piping corrected, down-fire the burner, and do not use any temperature setbacks. they work on hot air systems, but on steam, you just burn more fuel recovering the higher temperature. with a constant temperature, you can have comfort at a lower setting.
I suppose with the Nest in the kitchen, it knows from its calendar when you have the Thanksgiving turkey in the oven for hours, and can make allowances for the over heated kitchen.--NBC

Short cycling

@ March 24, 2014 9:00 AM in New Burnham Mega Steam short cycling, only heating half the home

If you remove the pressuretrol, you will only be addressing the symptom, rather than the cause. Maintaining the steam pressure between an upper, and lower limit is essential.
This boiler could heat properly piped radiators with a few ounces. Did you put a good low pressure gauge on? What is the pressure the burner cuts out at?
Quite likely, your main (not rad) venting is not allowing the air in the system to escape with no resistance, and causing the boiler to short cycle as you burn more and more fuel to force the air out of some constipated little openings. This resistance is measured as back-pressure of venting, and should be 1-2 ounces.
Alternatively, some LWCO controls will cycle the burner off every 20 minutes or so, to check the water level at rest, but I think your problem is pressure.
Did you follow the piping instructions, and skim it properly?--NBC

Water recycling

@ March 24, 2014 7:01 AM in How should I insulate this tank?

If they are using a large volume of water, maybe there would be a way to collect, and recycle the water. Obviously some filtration is required, like reverse osmosis?
A large spray wand, whose length is the same as the depth of the truck body, could be stuck in first to drench the interior first, then followed by some hand work by the cleaners.--NBC


@ March 24, 2014 6:54 AM in Hydronics frustration cold air no hot water

Do we understand that you have forced air furnaces, which may be robbing gas pressure somehow when they run, preventing the gas hot water heaters from making hot water?
Or do you have hot water heaters which supply hot water to fan-coils in an air handler setup, with added controls to produce domestic hot water, through a heat exchanger?
This sounds inefficient at the best when working, costing more for gas than a regular boiler with indirect, and output to the coils. Were the bills high?--NBC

Where are the leaks?

@ March 21, 2014 6:24 AM in Left Right Radiator Nipples

Are these in place?
Was this a freeze up?
Are they joined up top and bottom?
If they are used, and on the scrap pile, the price would be pretty cheap, so you could take a chance, as I believe these nipples can still be found. Cut the nipples through, and remove the remains from the section tappings. Then you can determine whether the threads are standard size. Clean up the section tappings with a tap of the right size, and reassemble with the new nipples. If the nipples rusted out, then all of them should be replaced.--NBC
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