nicholas bonham-carter

Joined on November 24, 2007

Last Post on August 21, 2014

Recent Posts

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Venting calculations

@ June 17, 2014 1:16 PM in Venting the mains

What should be done, in the selection of main vents is to add vents until you approach zero resistance, as measured by the gauge while the boiler is starting to make steam, and push the air out.
Calculations of pipe volume can aid in this, but the best way is to make sure with the back pressure on the gauge. Essentially you are balancing the pressures, and not the pipe volumes.
On my 55 rad system of 1,050,000 BTU system, the main is 5 inch running 50 feet which splits into 6 dry returns of 2 inch pipe. On each dry return there are the original Hoffman 75's, plus 3 Gorton 2's which I added to even the distribution out.
As I said, the travel time is costing your client the same as the extra vents you will eventually need..--NBC

@ June 17, 2014 6:19 AM in Venting the mains

If the main vents are restricted, then you will have radiators at the beginning of the line which fill with steam first, and cause an imbalance of heating. On multiple lines , the imbalance can become more pronounced (I have 6 dry returns). The best balance is achieved when the main lines fill with steam first, then the steam rises into the radiators simultaneously, heating them all at the same time.
An accurate gauge will enable you to see when the total of main vents is equal to an open pipe, which is perfect.
Since your distance from the job is great, I would rather put in too many main vents instead of too few. Probably the value of your driving time is equaling the cost of the extra vents.
Additionally, the greater venting capacity gives a lower air velocity which is less inclined to blow debris into the orifice.--NBC

Venting capacity

@ June 16, 2014 10:23 AM in Venting the mains

A low pressure 0-3 psi gauge would show you the resistance of the main vents as they allow the air to escape (back pressure). 2 ounces is ideal.
My 1,050,000 btu system for a 7 family house has 18 Gorton 2's, so your single vents may not be enough. You want to come close to the low resistance of an open pipe releasing the air.--NBC

Another steam heated hotel

@ June 14, 2014 6:11 PM in Steam-Heated Hotel!

In Florida, near Ft. Myers, Fla--the Gasparilla Inn.
As it was not chilly enough to need heat, I did not check the pressure!--NBC

@ June 14, 2014 1:06 PM in Midco Radiant burner....results of first heating season

http://news.discovery.com/tech/videos/visualizing-dubstep-with-a-rubens-tube-video-140613.htm

Control system

@ June 14, 2014 11:02 AM in Midco Radiant burner....results of first heating season

I would still like to know how to control these burners.--NBC

heated towel rail substitute

@ June 13, 2014 3:12 PM in heated towel rail substitute

http://electroluxdesignlab.com/2014/submission/pure-towel/

plenty in NYC

@ June 11, 2014 8:06 PM in Steam-Heated Hotel!

including this one: Hotel Belleclaire
http://www.hotelbelleclaire.com/accommodations/guestrooms
when we stayed there, the noisy vents shouted high pressure, and I told the front desk they could save some money, by cranking it down!--NBC

Which make is best?

@ June 10, 2014 2:30 PM in Home Owner

Properly Installed, by the manual is the way to go. Choose a boiler whose stocking distributor is in your area. The radiators must be measured for their radiation capacity (EDR), to select the size of boiler. Do not simply rely on the old boiler for a size.
Try to determine the cause of the early failure, (post pictures here for an analysis). It could have failed because of:
Improper sizing
Lack of maintenance
Manufacturers defect.
Had the system behaved well before it's demise?
Most questions on this site are about problems caused by bad installation.--NBC

Longevity of 2-pipe system

@ June 5, 2014 7:55 AM in piping

The pipes will likely be fine, although you may need some trap repair.--NBC

Modulating control

@ June 5, 2014 7:53 AM in Midco Radiant burner....results of first heating season

How was that Midco controlled?
It does look like the way of the future.--NBC

Unusual piping layout

@ June 1, 2014 12:01 AM in Skim Port Drain Plug Removal Advice

I'm surprised it has worked, as the risers look to be much smaller than the instructions call for as a minimum.
Still stranger configurations have been described as working well. Of course, many people have no experience with an absolutely quiet, perfect, and even steam system,and therefore view the noise they suffer as inevitable, and part of a normal steam experience.--NBC

Shakespeare and engineers

@ May 31, 2014 1:35 PM in Heat load calc( to pay, or not to pay)

He wasn't partial to lawyers, but he probably would have been sympathetic to engineers--NBC

Unusual piping to say the least!

@ May 31, 2014 1:22 PM in Skim Port Drain Plug Removal Advice

Are you having strange behavior from the boiler, which led you to believe that skimming would fix the symptoms? That piping looks to be capable of blowing lots of water up into the supplies, and maybe you should wait on skimming until the risers are corrected.
What diameter are the risers?--NBC

Skimming

@ May 31, 2014 6:34 AM in Skim Port Drain Plug Removal Advice

This is one of those situations where a drop header, piped with a drain valve at waterline height in the equalizer could be cleared of the oil by draining it out from the equalizer.
When the boiler first fires up, all the oil is thrown up into the header, and then into the equalizer where it is trapped., and can be drained off.--NBC

How to choose the engineer?

@ May 28, 2014 10:44 PM in Heat load calc( to pay, or not to pay)

I would not assume that just any engineer could do these calculations, so how can you find the right one?

Intersection of professions

@ May 28, 2014 6:07 AM in Steam Radiator to Water Question

See this post about alarms in hydronics:--NBC

You could in theory tap each section for a screw air vent, but without the cross connection at the top, performance would be compromised. Why not look for another rad which is water capable?

Small leak

@ May 28, 2014 5:58 AM in Oil boiler with summertime leak

Does this boiler also make hot water? Can you take off any panels to find the exact source of the leak? A rusted nipple leak is probably repairable, whereas a leak between the sections is more difficult to fix. If you can, fix it soon as the constant addition of fresh water will keep the oxygen level of the system water higher, and cause more corrosion.
Predicting the future is always difficult, but at least you can find out whether any installation mistakes have caused this leak to happen 15 years early.--NBC

@ May 23, 2014 11:35 PM in Ran across this today....

What caused the owner to call you-was the system misbehaving?--NBC

Solar snowmelt

@ May 22, 2014 7:45 AM in Peer review please...

Maybe just a darker color change of the concrete would pick up enough energy to at least loosen the bond between ice, and concrete. The snow does not need to be boiled off, and the snow shovel will still be needed.
The production of concrete uses large amounts of heat-whether from natural gas, or burning recycled tires!
Anything we can do to prolong the life of the concrete we have, will save energy. Snowmelt systems will prolong the life of concrete, by reducing the need for brute-force ice chipping, or or the application of concrete-destroying salts.--NBC

Old school days

@ May 19, 2014 6:30 PM in ID this steam unit heater