Joined on November 24, 2007
Last Post on December 6, 2013
@ November 16, 2013 7:30 AM in Radiators fill with waterIf you turn off the boiler, will all the water return, and restore the waterline in an hour or so?
What pressure is the system running at? Over-pressure will force the water out of the boiler, and starve it, but after a period of inactivity, all the water will come back.
If it doesn't, then the next thing is to check for a leak, by waiting for the boiler to be cool, and over-filling the system. Let it stand, and see if there are signs of water on the floor, or in the firebox.
Some leaks can be seen as white steam coming out of the chimney.
If the boiler needs replacement, the radiators MUST be measured to determine the size of the new boiler. Do not assume that the old one was correctly chosen, or installed, especially if this house was "flipped".--NBC
@ November 16, 2013 7:19 AM in No mains on one pipe counterflow system - what about a large vent on the radiator?The old dead men knew that the system would have a coal fire built in the boiler at the start of winter, and it would be kept burning until spring, so no main vents were needed. Modern on-off burners need to get the air out many time during the day.
The fuel companies who may have installed successive boilers knew that a poorly vented system burns more fuel in squeezing the air out of the constipated little radiator vents, so a win-win situation for them.
You can sometimes compensate for the lack of main venting on a counter flow system by putting a very fast vent on the radiator fed from the end of the main(s), and slower ones on the others. This may cause water hammer in the radiators.--NBC
@ November 16, 2013 6:51 AM in Looking for confirmation on main vent sizing (check my math)Pexsupply doesn't sell the low pressure gauges so essential to diagnosing problems such as yours, but gauge store.com (0-3 psi) does. Install it on the same pigtail as the pressuretrol, and then you can finish the main vent sizing. Add venting equally on both mains so that you can see the resistance to the air escaping in the back-pressure of venting. You want that back-pressure as low as possible, 2 ounces. In your situation I would have put Gorton 2's on each. Remember that doing the math gets you in the ball park, but observing the pressure gets you on the money!
I would also put Hoffman 40's on your radiators
Just leave the old gauge in place, as you do not want to break it it off in the tapping.--NBC
@ November 14, 2013 10:23 PM in ThermostatHave you got an accurate digital thermometer to show the exact temperature?
Until you get one, then raise the setting by 1 degree each time until you are comfortable.
Check any windows in the room for leakage, so there are no drafts of cold air coming into the room.
Get a nice Duvet from Iceland mills to keep you warm until you find the right temperature.--NBC
@ November 14, 2013 8:46 PM in National Art RadiatorsHey Ice, isn't it a factor of 185 btu/ft?
Are you still down in Florida servicing all their steam boilers?--NBC
@ November 14, 2013 8:42 PM in Testing a 15psi pressure safety valve on my boilerDo you ever get any hammering in the header, with that reduced takeoff to the equalizer?
If you look online at the manual for that boiler, you will see how it should have been piped, in order to produce good dry steam. How are your fuel bills?--NBC
@ November 14, 2013 8:35 PM in Testing a 15psi pressure safety valve on my boilerWhat about putting both PRV's on a manifold, and then at least one will work hopefully.--NBC
@ November 14, 2013 8:30 PM in Wheres the water going?What model, and age is the boiler?
Generally all sections will be headed for the same fate, but it's worth trying to investigate whether new sections are available, and then fixing the problem which caused the section to fail.--NBC
@ November 14, 2013 5:00 PM in Am I dealing with a knucklehead?What may have changed might be the pressure of the system, due to a clogged pigtail. Since you will be putting on a new gauge anyway, why not make it a 0-3 psi (gauge store.com), so you can see what is happening.
Ask the plumber how the air is getting out of the system. The 2-pipe part has traps, and some sort of an open pipe or main vent to let the air out. When the pressure gets out of control, these vents stop working, and can cause the symptoms you describe.--NBC
@ November 14, 2013 12:00 PM in Correct pressures to run boiler at?Use your gauge, to see the back-pressure of venting, and add main vents until the pressure is a couple of ounces, during the venting phase.
You probably could heat the house with 2 ounces, unless your boiler is over-sized.--NBC
@ November 14, 2013 11:57 AM in 11 Buildings 1 boilerWhat is the pressure in the system?
How does the water return to the boiler from the outlying buildings?
Is there a makers name to this system?
Will the boiler run constantly until some of the radiators are satisfied, or does it short-cycle?
What sort of control is running the boiler?--NBC
@ November 14, 2013 11:51 AM in Changing old vents--what will go horribly wrong?An open ended wrench on the flats of the vent exerts more force than a pipe wrench, especially when tapped with a hammer.--nbc
@ November 14, 2013 11:46 AM in Boiler recommendations?Thanks Dave, I will be refreshing my Dunham knowledge.
I edited my first post about this, and after having got down on my hands and knees in the chapel, I find I have less radiation than I thought, under some marble side benches.
The ground floor has a heat loss of 207 KBTU, but the radiator total is 757 ft.
The basement has a heat loss of 63 KBTU , but only 162 ft
Therefore the total Heat loss is 270 KBTU, served by 919 ft of radiation (221 KBTU) leaving me short by about 50 KBTU .
Either some radiators have been removed, or the building was under-radiated. When built, there were 2 large cremation ovens in the basement, and maybe theses were taking up the slack. Alternatively, in 1913, there were no powered soil defrost ears, enabling graves to be dug in the depths of winter, so maybe not much use for the building at that time.
Alternatively, the supplies and returns have some EDR , which I have not taken into account, but as it is a Dunham system, the pipes are fairly small.
Wet base boilers for that size do not seem to offer any hi-lo-hi burners (gas), so are they easy to derate to the load?
Possibly, the SlantFin heat loss App is overdoing the heat loss.--NBC
@ November 13, 2013 11:42 PM in Cast iron radiators- is there water in the feet?I would not take a chance on cutting the feet off. Jack it up a fraction, and therefore gain clearance for the repair. When you let it down, use some 1/4 inch plates to spread the load.--NBC
@ November 13, 2013 11:22 PM in I got the bill letter from the maintenence office.It does not matter whether the noise comes from a zone valve, or the radiator in the apartment. The problem is that you are hearing a constant irritating noise which is interfering with your peaceful enjoyment of the apartment. There is also no justification in a charge for examining the problem.
What city are you in? There are city inspectors whose job is to make sure that apartments are clean, comfortable, and safe. You would have every justification to ask for an inspection by them of the situation.
The irony of this situation is that the system is undoubtably badly maintained, and therefore using more fuel than it should!--NBC
@ November 13, 2013 10:58 PM in Additional gauge for a Burnham Independence BoilerYou will now be able to diagnose many problems in the system, by seeing the exact pressure of the moment. You can see when you need more main venting (NOW), by reading the gauge for the back-pressure of venting during that early phase when the air is escaping. If there were no main vent, and just an empty hole, the back-pressure would be only a couple of ounces, and so the task is to add main vents until you see a very low back-pressure. This is more certain than the measurements of pipes, and of the boiler steam chest, because the balance of steam distribution is defendant on the resistance of the main vents (very low), and the radiators (higher resistance). This way you will be more certain to have the pipes filled first, before the radiators ( which will each fill at the same time).--NBC
@ November 13, 2013 9:18 PM in How to blow down a boilerThe water in a steam boiler will at best look like weak tea. What must be removed from the water are any oils left over from piping, which can remain for the life of the boiler (shortened as a result of no cleaning!).
Blowing down the boiler will remove any calcium/rust accumulations, but will not remove any oil, which can only be done by skimming, which removes the surface oil from the water, where the oil remains. Once the skimming has been completed, it will not usually be done again, unless some piping work has reintroduced more oil into the system.
There are two evils in steam boilers which need to be chased away like the raccoon from the garbage cans-air, and oily residue.--NBC
@ November 12, 2013 11:11 PM in black pipe to copper - brass fittings?If the dialectic unions can be left out of the installation, then as a result the piping should be inspected more frequently, (even more frequently if the D-unions are in place!)--NBC
@ November 12, 2013 11:00 PM in Need help balancing my system!The Honeywell visionpro will enable you to put a sensor on the second floor, but enable you to have the control. In my 55 rad system, with 7 units,I have the sensor in the coldest wing so as to anticipate the drop in temperature, while I have the control.
Check your main venting.--NBC
@ November 12, 2013 10:52 PM in main vent placement on a counterflowYou could be a treasure for your landlord, with all the time you have put in on this system!!!!!!
The main vent on a counter flow should be at the end after the last rad, if possible. Often the pipe is jammed up against the basement wall, making it different to do anything. In such case, you could put the fastest radiator vent on that last radiator, with SLOW radiator vents on the intermediate ones.--NBC
@ November 12, 2013 10:45 PM in Need help balancing my system!Why not put the thermostat up on the second floor? Choose the coldest part of the house.
Make sure your venting is generous.--NBC
@ November 12, 2013 10:39 PM in small heat loadsIf the apartments are separately zoned, you could use an hour meter to monitor the time that the thermostat (or pump ) has called for heat. You would have to read the meters, in order to figure the appropriate usage.
One of the best things to do is to make sure the system is well enough maintained so as to be very economical.--NBC