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nicholas bonham-carter

nicholas bonham-carter

Joined on November 24, 2007

Last Post on April 24, 2014

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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

Terminology

@ 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

Caveat emptor

@ March 20, 2014 4:30 AM in Vaporstat sticking / biasing after vacuum

Why not extend the tee on your gauge tree so a check valve could be installed to relieve the vacuum.
I don't think anyone else in the vacuum fraternity has had a problem with a vaporstat or a gauge suffering damage from a vacuum, you you must just need a new vaporstat.
Have you identified the cause of the noisy rad?--NBC

Cold addition

@ March 20, 2014 4:21 AM in 2 Pipe Steam Woes - Cold Zone Of House

It's very unlikely that 2-pipe radiators will need vents on them. Those that do are very old, and probably confined to the east coast.
If the system is properly balanced, then steam will arrive at each radiator at the same time. This balance is affected by the ability of main (not rad) vents to allow the air in the pipes and radiators to escape ahead of the incoming steam. Trace the path of the steam, and therefore as well the escape route of the air. The vent in "C" does not look adequate to do much, and it may be in the wrong location. You may want to experiment with throttling down all the radiator valves to provide more steam for the addition.
Draw out a plan of the system, and label each radiator with its EDR, and the pipe sizes which supply the individual radiators, and also the main supply for that group. Somewhere here is a table of how much a given pipe size can supply, in EDR. When the addition was done, it may not have had a large enough supply pie for that group.
Are there traps on the radiators, and if so are they functioning? One faulty trap could close its neighboring traps early, causing a cold zone.
Is the thermostat set or adjusted for steam?
Some traps and vents will not function properly when the pressure exceeds 3psi. Check that the pressuretrol is preventing the pressure from exceeding that.
Pictures of the rads, traps and main vents are always helpful.--NBC

piping problem

@ March 19, 2014 7:24 PM in Does this boiler seem piped right?

I would say not even close to the instructions. probably should use both headers, and put in a horizontal header with one feed from it to any main above.
Is the system noisy?

Leaking 2 inch pipe

@ March 19, 2014 9:42 AM in Replace 2" x 10' cast iron steam pipe cost?

I would be more concerned about his expertise than his price. Changing prices so rapidly would raise an alarm with me. Has he any references?
Where is the leak - in the section of the pipe or in the threads which go into a fitting. Labor is probably the biggest component in the repair cost here.
There are temporary patching devices, much like a wide hose clamp with a rubber gasket on it, which would hold off this permanent solution until warm weather. They will not work well on a location right next to the threads.--NBC

Clearing return line

@ March 18, 2014 11:05 PM in SUGGESTIONS ABOUT CLEARING A CLOG

Try using water, using an adapter on some kitchen sink faucet for a hose, and then adapters for the return piping. Water will work better than compressed gas, because of its mass, and not much pressure is needed.
Is this 1-pipe or 2-pipe?--NBC

Short-cycling with noisy Carlin

@ March 18, 2014 10:59 PM in Steam Boiler Short Cycling from Pressure

Some burners have an optional noise silencing hood which can reduce the blower noise, so you could check to see if one is available for your Carlin.
The fact that the vaporstat trips 20 minutes into the cycle leads me to believe that the cycling on pressure is an oversize issue, rather than a venting issue. Check and see if the carlin can be down fired, or replaced by perhaps a Riello which would be more adjustable for firing rate, and quieter to boot.
You could do an EDR survey of your radiators to see how much oversized the boiler is, and fire the boiler at that new rate.--NBC

Gortons loop-sealed from the return??

@ March 18, 2014 10:45 PM in Two pipe system -return main with vent off mainly sucks in during cycle

Hard to see, but it looks like a circuitous path for the air to travel to escape the return. Maybe I am not seeing what is in the picture? More pictures would help.--NBC

Common to every heating boiler

@ March 18, 2014 10:41 PM in gas fired steam crown boiler

If you have leaks in the system, which cause constant additions of fresh water with plenty of oxygen, the boiler will fail early, and in your case 20 years too early.
Crown will have instructions on their website for the installation of the block, but fix any leaks at the same time.
I think they are bending backwards for you on this.--NBC

Loud sucking noise

@ March 18, 2014 6:41 PM in gorton valves

The main (not rad) vents should be doing the big job of air removal, and vacuum relief. Post some pictures, and we can advise what replacements or additions may be needed. Noisy vents indicate a lack of main venting capacity.--NBC

antique pipes

@ March 18, 2014 12:57 PM in Piping concerns

maybe you could draw a plan of the present piping, with the intended modifications shown.
a skilled pipe-fitter will be able to either cut the pipe between two fittings, or break a fitting with a hammer, and expose good threads.
I would be more concerned that the work would have the necessary pitch, and that the minimum pipe sizes for the radiators served would be kept.--NBC

Corrected rates

@ March 17, 2014 4:45 PM in Heat pump only, or combo?

Our electricity is $.1025 per kilowatt.
Gas is $.55 per therm--NBC

Generous main venting!!

@ March 17, 2014 11:09 AM in Single (really!) pipe steam

What manufacturer said "nothing vents better than an open pipe"?
The soldered joints are pretty well made, and wiped, for a homeowner/hack to have done.
Did he ask whether the block was still under warranty?--NBC

13 minutes

@ March 16, 2014 11:47 PM in Check valve

That slowness of return may be due to poor main venting. Maybe the steam gets to the radiators very slowly, and then begins generating the bulk of the condensate.--NBC

Funeral home

@ March 16, 2014 10:30 PM in Heat pump only, or combo?

Most like a church, with a staff of 10 during normal business hours, with a couple of funerals a week attended by up to 200 people.comfort is a big issue, but I thought during the colder months the gas supplemental heat could be more economical than simply an air-source heat pump.
I know these calculations of energy cost have been covered before here in regard to heating system choices (NGO, LPG, electric etc);but I was interested in the gut reaction of experts here.--NBC

lack of heat, and hot water

@ March 16, 2014 2:51 PM in Has a sink hole ever tried to swallow up a boiler you service?

how will he deal with chilly, unwashed tenants?
who left the fill valve open-some knucklehead maintenance man?---NBC
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