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nicholas bonham-carter

nicholas bonham-carter

Joined on November 24, 2007

Last Post on July 30, 2014

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Budget for boiler

@ April 9, 2014 10:14 AM in Mid range boilers

Download the SlantFin heat loss app from their website, and find out what your heat loss is. I presume you have hot water heat?
The Lochinvar solution may be a good fit for you. It is more like a cast iron boiler in price, but is lighter and also has provision for outdoor reset. It cannot use a plastic vent, so if you need that option, you must go with a mod-con, and they are more expensive, and need regular servicing to keep them in operating condition.
Most of the cost of a new boiler is in the installation, which should be done by an experienced hydronic professional, and he may have his own preferences, based on which makes are available in your area.--NBC

Down rating the burner?

@ April 8, 2014 11:28 PM in Is my steam boiler way oversized?

If you can find a good steam man, or burner man, maybe the burner could be derated a bit for some savings.
Even more important would be making sure the air can get out through the main venting system.
Is this a 1-pipe, or 2- pipe system?--NBC

Venting choices

@ April 8, 2014 11:21 PM in Burnham boiler for Chicago 3-flat

I am sure you will be alright with Gorton 2's. The Hoffman have much less capacity for venting.
Choosing vents is not a place to try for false economy. Your system could be burning an extra 15% with the wrong vents. I don't know what the purpose of the control system you have was, but it was not giving your system economy, or comfort. This summer will be a good time to rectify all of these problems. Too bad you were not able to get this advice at the beginning of last winter, and then you would have saved a lot.--NBC

Radiator vent

@ April 7, 2014 10:51 AM in Inlet valve banging when closed, hissing when open

Post a picture of that vent, so we can determine the make. Those vents with floats will shut off when upside down, but some cheapies may not. --NBC

Outdoor control

@ April 7, 2014 10:47 AM in Burnham boiler for Chicago 3-flat

The most effective steam control for steam is the Tekmar 279, which uses indoor and outdoor sensors to time the boiler firing periods. It can only be used on a system in perfect balance, so best to get things like venting up to scratch. I think bad venting and pressures over 8 ounces could add 15% to you fuel use.
On my 55 rad system, I use a Honeywell Visionpro with remote indoor sensor, using the coldest bedroom of the building as a control point. Although it has no outdoor sensor capabilities, it seems to work well, for an eighth of the price, and now comes in internet enabled favors.
I do not use setbacks, so therefore set a lower constant temperature.--NBC

Disinterested super

@ April 6, 2014 6:57 PM in Inlet valve banging when closed, hissing when open

Try leaving the inlet valve fully open, and rotate the air vent so it points down.
It sounds as though the pressure may be high enough to force steam through the closed valve, and when the condensate builds up, causes water-hammer.
Se if you can go above the super with your complaints-maybe to the person who signs his check, and would like to know that deferred maintenance is costing him money.--NBC

The sound of radiator vents

@ April 5, 2014 3:03 PM in Bad new gorton valves?

If your main vents are adequate, pressure low, and the boiler not oversized, then they should be silent.--NBC

Looking for efficiency

@ April 5, 2014 3:00 PM in old steam system replacement

Even if the boiler is not leaking now, with that mileage on it it may soon be time for a replacement. Is this 1-pipe or 2-pipe?2
Download the SlantFin heat loss app from their website, and find out what your heat loss is. Then download the radiator sizing chart and calculate the EDR of your radiators. Compare the btu of the heat loss with the total EDR of the radiators, and see how they compare. Next look at the rating of your boiler, from the plate on it and see if it is oversized for the EDR of the radiators.
If your boiler is oversized by a sizeable percentage, then a new correctly sized boiler would save money. Is the present boiler piped properly? If not then that will be a fuel wasting situation. Is the pressure lower than 2 psi (basic function, or lower than 8 ounces for economy, and comfort)? Is the venting in the system adequate, or are you burning extra fuel to squeeeeeze the air out of some constipated little vents?
Conversion to hydro air may not be cost effective, as radiators need no electricity. Mini split units would provide the cooling you would like.
Post some pictures of your boiler and it's piping for us to see.--NBC

Well said Fred

@ April 4, 2014 11:35 PM in how should I prepare the system for summer?

Agreed with your well described procedures.
Anyway we love our steam boilers and systems, so love to make them last by these simple procedures.--NBC

Traps on 1-pipe??

@ April 4, 2014 5:29 PM in Need used or cheap commercial steam boiler

How can 1-pipe have any traps or vacuum controls? Best to try to return the system to its original state.--NBC


@ 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
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