Joined on September 24, 2009
Last Post on March 9, 2014
@ February 26, 2013 5:44 PM in How to tell if you have wet steam?Got this idea from Lost Art. Close bottom glass gauge valve. Remove that little plug. Install a 1/4" brass nipple, a closed 1/4" ball valve and another 1/4" nipple. Let the boiler run for a while. Open the ball valve and see what comes out. If steam comes out then you know that there is steam in the top part of your boiler. If water comes out then you know that you have water in top part of boiler and hence wet steam.
@ February 20, 2013 10:43 PM in automatic water feed issueI tell my customers that if they really want auto feeders for that reason they should leave them off and turn them on when they go on vacation.
@ February 20, 2013 9:49 PM in automatic water feed issueAuto feeds are not a very good thing to have on your steam boiler.
1. You will never know if you have leaks.
2. If you have leaks and the auto feed keeps refilling the boiler then you boiler lifespan will be shortened due to oxidation from the oxygen in the fresh water.
3. The auto feed typically maintains a safe operating water level and not an efficient water level.
4.Auto feeds have a bad habit(not common but it happens) of opening and not closing with will fill the boiler, then the radiators and then your house with water.
If you don't have any leaks in the then you should not have to fill you system more the once a month MAX!
@ February 20, 2013 9:40 PM in Hi Again from San Francisco!- Question on VentingNot sure if I am seeing it correctly but is the flue pipe backwards(meaning male/ridged part of flue pipe toward boiler)? If yes then you have yourself a rather dangerous situation on your hands. Again pic is a bit blurry so I might not be seeing it right.
@ February 19, 2013 3:31 PM in LWCO to auto feeder connectionWhy do you want to add an auto feed? Auto feeds are bad. With an auto feed you will never know if you have a leak and the excess makeup water will shorten the lifespan of you boiler. They also typically reduce efficiency by keeping the boiler water level at a less then efficient level. Without leaks in the system you should not have to add water more then once every few weeks at most. If you do have leaks please do yourself a favor and fix them. Auto feeders do open sometimes and not close with will result in a flooded system and house
@ February 18, 2013 11:44 PM in Steam system knockingIs the hot water loop above or below the water line of the boiler
@ February 18, 2013 6:32 PM in Near boiler pipingSorry to be so blunt but that near boiler piping is really really bad. Forget about the gal pipe(BAD!), the copper pipe(BAD!) and the pipe size for a moment. The way the pipes are currently oriented there will be a buildup of water in that first horizontal pipe. The water will mix with the steam resulting in banging and higher operating costs. Think about it for a moment. When the steam leaves the boiler it carries water with it. The water needs a way to drain back to the boiler(one of the main functions of the header is to be a drain pipe). How is water in that first horizontal pipe supposed to drain back to the boiler? Is it pitched toward the boiler? If yes the which way is second horizontal pipe pitched? You almost certainly have a puddle of water in one or both of those horizontal pipes. Also the chimney is not sealed. CO is nasty. Don't take it lightly.
@ February 18, 2013 11:00 AM in Steam System--The Skimming ProcessDan has an entire chapter devoted to boiler skimming. I don't have the book in front of me but I believe its the last chapter in the book. Dan discusses various methods and in the end gives the method that he believes works the best
@ February 17, 2013 7:28 PM in Plugged Steam RiserWhat I would do in your scenario is to remove the supply valve and check to see if it is fully open. If yes then put your mouth on the supply pipe and try to blow. If there is no obstruction then you should be able to blow through. If you feel like you are blowing into a brick wall then there is probably some sort of obstruction. If there is an obstruction then the fun begins. What is the obstruction?? It could be a build up inside the pipe(not that likely considering that there should be no standing water in steam supply pipes and hence not much rust/mineral buildup). It is also possible that there is a sag somewhere that is causing a water seal that is preventing steam from entering. It is also possible that the pipes are disconnected(that is how some of the knuckleheads solve banging radiator problems). Good luck!!
@ February 17, 2013 7:16 PM in basement heatYou should consider running a hot water loop for the basement. It will probably be cheaper to install and will not really add to operating costs. Besides for the potential problems mentioned above you do need to ensure that that radiator is secured properly. Cast iron radiators are VERY heavy and you really don't want to come falling down from the ceiling!!
@ February 15, 2013 1:40 PM in Better without main vent???Funny thing is that the system seemed to be running fairly smoothly
@ February 15, 2013 12:40 PM in Better without main vent???I went to a customer a few days for some routine repairs. While there I noticed that most of the one pipe steam radiators(regular old fashioned cast iron radiators) had been repiped with 3/4" copper. The puzzling thing is that they didn't bang or spit water as I would have expected them too. With pipes that small I would have thought that the incoming steam would move too fast for the condensate to return. The only conclusion that I can imagine is that the steam is moving slowly enough through the main that even the increase of speed inside the 3/4" pipes is too slow to hold back condensate. The boiler appears to be piped correctly and the water level seems adequately stable. I cant tell if there are main vents(basement is finished). I would have to assume that there are no main vents(most places don't have main vents anyway). In this instance I would think that it might be better to advise the customer NOT to install main vents. Weird!
@ February 15, 2013 12:14 PM in Question about main ventingAre you sure that the mains are really 5"? Did you measure the circumference or the diameter?Also what is the length and pipe size of the mains after they branch out? What type of radiator vents do you have? If you have varivents they may be throwing the system out of balance due to their high venting rates? Do you have any steam leaks? Steam leaks can also be a form of oversized air vents in a sense. Anywhere that steam escapes from is a form of an air vent and can through the system out of wack. Do you have anything that is causing wet steam? If there is too much water being carried out off the boiler the steam will move slower. Very often the water is carried in one direction and not the other and the result will be that steam moving in one direction will be slower then steam going in the other direction.
@ February 12, 2013 9:06 AM in dead man 2 pipe design questionWhy would the dead men ever install a 2 pipe steam system with traps instead of orifices? With the orifice there are no moving parts and don't need to be repaired every 5 years? In addition if there are issues(such as maybe sludge blocking the orifice) you are able to do the work during the winter without concern of damage from other defective traps or orifices.
@ February 12, 2013 8:55 AM in general chimney questionGood morning. In you very common situation where you have a boiler and water heater connected to a common chimney(just an example) why isn't the chimney oversized whenever only one of the appliances is running? In particular during the non heating season when the boiler never runs why aren't there issues with inability of the smaller water heater to heat the chimney and establish draft? This is an academic question. Thank you.
@ February 5, 2013 12:00 AM in to convert cast iron to steamview in prewar condo NYCMake sure that the btu output of new radiators is equal to old radiators. Please do not try to guess. The consequentces could be dire
@ January 28, 2013 10:41 PM in Rotted boilers. one riser vs. two risersHas anyone noticed a higher rate of boilers springing holes when only one riser is used as opposed to two risers? I would think that with one riser (even when sized properly) all the steam is heading in one direction. This can lead to water splashing on that side and residual wet spots.
@ January 28, 2013 10:35 PM in boiler videoYou can put a glass steam boiler in my living room if you would like! On a similar but more serious note I would like to see manufactures put glass gauges on both sides of the boiler so we can get a more accurate idea of whats happening inside the boiler
@ January 25, 2013 9:44 AM in steam/air vent gushing waterCould be dirt/sludge on bottom of boiler causing water carryover. Shut down boiler and drain and refill boiler a few times. Good luck
@ January 13, 2013 1:10 AM in Steel pipe BTU outputSteam heating(212-215). 1" fiberglass insulation. unheated basement so lets assume about 55 degrees.
@ January 12, 2013 7:45 PM in Steel pipe BTU outputDoes anyone have the ratings for BTU output for insulated 3" steel pipe? Thank you
@ December 16, 2012 11:11 PM in Steamed up over Steam Boiler Short CyclingHard to tell from pics but you seem to have the pitch in the wrong direction on the near boiler piping. The first and second horizontal pipes above the header(near the ceiling) seem to be pitched in a way that would leave a buildup of water in that connecting elbow. This will reduce the size of the pipe and can lead to a buildup in pressure with will shut down the boiler. Obviously this will also result in reduction of heat getting to the radiators.Look on left of boiler toward the back. There should be a 1 1/4" nipple and cap. This is the skim port