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Tony Conner

Tony Conner

Joined on September 3, 2004

Last Post on January 1, 2011

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Here's The Expansion

@ January 1, 2011 11:30 AM in Expandtion rate of black pipe

Watch what values you're pulling off the steam tables. The real world works in pounds per square inch GAUGE. Many, many steam tables list values in pounds per square inch ABSOLUTE.

I use Spirax Sarco's book "Hook-Ups" a lot for steam systems like this one.

Temp rise X 0.00804 = inches per 100 feet.

Temp rise on steam line: 338-45 = 293

293 X 0.00804 = 2.36 inches per 100 feet.

Your longest run is 40 feet, so:

2.36 X 0.4 = 0.94 inches.

You've got several 90* elbows in your system, with some relatively long runs of pipe, so there's lots of flex. I'd just cut that 40 foot run 1/2 an inch short, and cold spring it when doing-up the last union or flange.

Make the riser off the boiler high enough that you can slope the horizontal line to the tank about 1/2" in 10 feet, and locate a drip tee & trap on the bottom of the drop to the tank, ahead of the control valve.

Central Steam System Condensate Return

@ August 29, 2010 6:22 PM in central distribution steam systems

Unless the steam piping network is in tunnels with enough space to permit access for maintenance personnel, it's VERY difficult to successfully return condensate. In any system I've seen, the condensate system is/was a maintenance nightmare, and typically gets abandoned.

Direct-buried Steam Lines

@ August 29, 2010 6:18 PM in underground Anchor and Guide sizing

I've never seen anybody use expansion loops with a direct buried steam system, and I'm not sure how you could make them work, once you backfill. I've used manholes - spaced as much as 400 feet part - that contained expansion joints, drip-leg/trap assemblies, isolation valves, etc.

What's the operating pressure, and how long is your run?


@ August 3, 2009 4:26 PM in Leaking Flange Connections

...for the nice words, bob. Most of the time, I feel like I've got a handful of answers that I've stumbled across, and all each one has done, is create 3 or 4 new questions for me. :) The more I know, the more I realize how much I DON'T know... Old wrench puller's answer is a good one - butterfly valves for water & air service have a rubber (or other plastic-type) liner in the body, that carries-out over the flange face. Some have an 'O' ring. Either way, I can't recall one needing a separate gasket. I think the valve will have to be dropped, and the liner/'O'ring checked. If shutting down a big domestic water service, I'd seriously consider having a replacement valve, and new nuts & bolts sitting on the floor when I did that. I might even want to have a grinder with a zip-cut in the truck. Very often, there's at least one fastener that just WILL NOT co-operate. Just a reminder to the guys doing this (I'm sure you already know) - it's really, really easy to over-torque bolts on PVC flanges, and crack them. Just when you thought that nothing else could possibly go wrong...

I Think...

@ July 30, 2009 4:23 PM in Alberta Oil Sands

... those oil price payback numbers were for new construction during the boom. As soon as oil tickled $60/bbl on the way back up, several big projects were revived here. The Shell upgrader expansion project (it slowed down, but never stopped) just north of Edmonton has about 7,500 guys working on it. Lots of calls at the UA 488 hall for steamfitters & welders - to the point they're running ads (large ones) in the newspaper looking for guys to fill them. Licence plates from all over Canada in the parking lots - I've even seen a couple from the US - Minnesota & Illinois. There was a non-union outfit running drive-time radio ads looking for guys (variety of trades) for a project in Ft. McMurray. Billboards along the highway looking for electricians & instrument mechanics. It's not nearly the boom here that it was, but it's sure not bad.

Old GM Instructional Film On Youtube

@ July 19, 2009 12:39 PM in Old GM Instructional Film

This link was posted on an engineering board I frequent. It was put out by GM in the '30's on differentials. I think it's pretty cool. You can skip the first minute & fifty seconds and not miss much.

An Electric Heater/Defroster In A Car

@ May 30, 2009 11:04 PM in An Electric Heater/Defroster In A Car

I'm on the fringe of a discussion on another site, where the electric car has come up, and a discussion as to how much power you'd require for the heater. Has anybody here ever thought about this? Right away, I'm thinking LOADS of single pane glass. But then there's the heat from the occupants. There's also the moisture from breathing, melting snow as the cabin heats-up, etc. The spread we've got so far is 900 kWh vs 20,000 BTU/hr for a standard heater in a conventional water cooled fossil fuel engine.


@ April 18, 2009 10:54 AM in Steam coils

... the CFM of the fan, and the delta-T of the air. That'll tell you how many BTU/hr or lbs/hr steam the coil requires. Heating air with steam: (CFM X 1.08 X delta T in *F) / 1000 = lbs/hr steam


@ April 10, 2009 10:07 AM in Fitch Fuel Catalyst

This was in my mailbox this morning: "Dear Caveat Emptor: You are absolutely correct...and if it were not for the success we're having ( I'll humbly share any and all of it with you ) I would not be here playing with people who know a hell of lot more about this profession than I do. So, please feel free to engage me on the layman's level...the Fitch Fuel Catalyst really works and does it's job splendidly. Regards, JP"

My Experience Is...

@ April 9, 2009 8:30 PM in Fitch Fuel Catalyst

...that guy's who are flogging this stuff, start strings like this. They always start off with a question... Caveat emptor.

I'll Bet...

@ March 31, 2009 9:51 PM in Steam to Hot Water Conversions

... you could get a huge improvement by simply fixing the existing steam system - not just the boiler - for a fraction of the conversion cost.

What's The...

@ March 31, 2009 7:48 PM in Steam to Hot Water Conversions

... payback on this project?


@ March 31, 2009 4:11 PM in Steam to Hot Water Conversions

... every apartment will have it's own boiler?

The First Thing...

@ March 31, 2009 9:46 AM in Steam to Hot Water Conversions

... I'd check is to see if the landlord's plan to bill the tenents is legal. I'm not aware of anyplace that allows anyone except a utility to bill individuals.

The Difference Is...

@ March 25, 2009 2:30 PM in shutting down steam to a commercial building

... that your customer is shutting the steam off in the building, after it comes through the basement wall. That's no problem. The way I read the initial question though, was that the steam would be shut off outside of the building, with the line left cold in the ground for months on end. I've seen people do that to save money over the summer. And they do - for a few years. Then, the leaks start showing-up. It doesn't take more than a couple of repairs involving a crew with jackhammers, a backhoe and welder - not to mention restoration - to total more than whatever the perceived savings were. Ask me how I know this...

Your Steam Lines Will...

@ March 24, 2009 10:51 PM in shutting down steam to a commercial building

... rot from the outside in. Steam lines left cold in the ground for any period of time very much tend to die early, ugly deaths.

Your Steam Lines Will...

@ March 20, 2009 5:00 PM in shutting down steam supply to a building over the summer months.

...most likely corrode from the outside in. There could be factors in your installation that I'm not aware of - local conditions are a HUGE factor in steam distribution systems - but my experience is that the corrosion you'll suffer will FAR outweigh any energy savings. I'd leave the steam line hot.

Pick-Up A...

@ March 2, 2009 8:32 PM in Looking for ideas on how to make a isometric boiler drawing.

... Berol RapiDesign R-43 isometric piping template. They're plastic, and only cost a few bucks. Also, find a copy of IPT's "Pipe Trades Handbook". It's about $25. It'll fit into your jacket pocket or toolbox. Nothing specific on boilers, pumps, etc, but it covers pretty much every type of tubing, pipe, fitting, valve & joint you can imagine. Another good one is IPT's "Guide to Blueprint Interpretation". It's only available in the instructor's edition (larger & coil-bound so you can see the drawings better, and about $50). Excellent book for mechanical construction trades because it has it's focus on things like pumphouses, large boiler rooms, etc.

The Breeze

@ February 28, 2009 5:41 PM in lynyrd skynrd fans

Go to youtube, and type in "the breeze". There's a live performance in the UK from '75. Awesome musicians.

BTU metering?

@ February 23, 2009 7:42 PM in BTU metering?

The landlords may want to check the legal aspects of this. In any jurisdiction that I'm aware of, you MUST be a utility to bill somebody for services such as this.


@ February 1, 2009 11:46 AM in How do you figure payback?

... a number of factors financial people consider. I'm not a financial guy, so the term "simple payback" was used for the time frames for people outside of the accounting depts. Some years there's loads of capital money for longer paybacks, some years anything over 6 months or a year won't see any money. But the one constant has always been, if it won't pay back in 3 years or less, you're wasting your time pitching it to the money people.

Say A Project...

@ February 1, 2009 11:14 AM in How do you figure payback?

... will cost $10,000, material & labour. If you can save $10,000 in the first year on fuel, that's a one year payback. If you save $5,000 a year, that'll be a two year payback, and so on. Things can change on you, though. If fuel prices suddenly rise, paybacks can show up much faster. If they plunge, what originally looked like a two year payback can suddenly stretch out to much more. For most businesses, a 3 year payback is the longest they'll consider. In practice, even that is stretching it.
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