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Joined on February 27, 2010

Last Post on July 29, 2014

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@ January 15, 2012 12:46 PM in a puzzle for all you super-smart steamies

So, this method basically converts hot-water radiators into steam radiators?


@ January 11, 2012 8:23 AM in mono flow blues

Yes you can! In fact, that's how the principle of Primary/Secondary piping came into this world. You can read about that in some of Dan's books.

Just size the pump for your connected baseboard run, and have it pump away from the Monoflo main on the loop's supply line.

But, out of curiosity...has this ever worked properly? Was it added to the system?


@ January 11, 2012 8:15 AM in condensation

I'm always suspicious of outside combustion air. What happens when it rains or snows? All that humidity is going to be sucked in to the furnace. I've also had a manufacturer's rep tell our company that when the A/C is running, the furnace will become cooler, and outdoor air will travel into the combustion box and condense. In any case, it's a "necessary" design flaw to use outside combustion air. You start to realize how important the maintenance of these 90% systems really is. And how terribly difficult most of them are to maintain. Some of those burner boxes are just down right impossible to access.


@ January 4, 2012 10:04 PM in The Munchkin 80m walk of shame.

Things I would check...

Proper spark gap. Even if it sparks. Check it anyway.
Good grounding.
Proper voltage to the flame sensor. (Couldn't find what it should be. Somebody here may know.)
All burner gaskets should be free from damage/leaks.
Verify proper combustion piping.

Do you have any combustion results? The way you have to "cheat it", sounds like an inconsistent flame. Has the burner been cleaned or replaced? Flue passages clean and clear?


@ January 1, 2012 8:07 PM in have a question what to do withy a steam fitting

In that case....GOOD LUCK!

You might try to get a very long sawzall blade and make a few cuts in the fitting, then try to chip it off without damaging the pipe threads. Second option is to open up the floor.


@ January 1, 2012 7:58 PM in have a question what to do withy a steam fitting

The radiator, by your dimensions and number of tubes and sections comes out to 42 sq.ft. EDR. That's 10,080 BTUH.

1 1/4" pipe is good for 55 sq.ft.
1 1/2" pipe is good for 81 sq.ft. So the run-out is fine.
1" vertical pipe is for rated up to 45 sq.ft. Here you might get lucky, and be fine leaving the reducing elbow in the floor, and running 1" to the radiator.


You'll still need to use an 1 1/4" radiator valve. 1" will be too small to allow the condensate to properly drain. Don't use a bushing. Use a reducing coupling on the vertical rise to avoid the possibility of pooling water in the riser near the valve.


@ January 1, 2012 7:39 PM in have a question what to do withy a steam fitting

Can you measure the height, width, and depth of the living room radiator? 


@ January 1, 2012 7:32 PM in have a question what to do withy a steam fitting

What is the EDR or rating of the new radiator? Maybe 1" will be enough if it's only for the vertical rise.


@ January 1, 2012 7:20 PM in have a question what to do withy a steam fitting

Were you having trouble heating those rooms? What prompted all of this work? And why start now? Did you do a heat loss on the rooms?

Old pipe is tough. Usually, the ends justifies the means. Breaking a fitting in the floor is going to be mighty hard.


@ December 29, 2011 6:09 AM in vent filling with water?

Can we see pictures of where the radiator is piped off of the main?

And here's a thought outside of the box...

The radiator is on the edge of the stairs, right? Maybe the natural air currents in the stairwell are cooling the air-vent side of the radiator faster than the other side, causing the steam to condense unevenly. And since the air vent is thinner metal than the radiator, the condensate will form there first.


@ December 24, 2011 9:38 PM in Looking for a book

I may have an extra copy. I'll write back when I find it.


@ December 22, 2011 8:13 PM in More Draft With Damper Closed

When I first tested, I believe it was a rather warm day (can't believe I'm saying that in December). I want to revisit after the new warranty boiler is in place. Hopefully the outdoor temperature is a bit cooler, and I can do some CAZ testing.

I may even take some pictures.


@ December 22, 2011 7:57 PM in Help setting proper pressure for steam boiler.

Do you have any steam leaks? At the radiators, or in the piping? If the steam leaks out fast enough it may be dropping pressure very quickly. Is the boiler losing water during its cycle?

You can also try to raise the main PSI setting to a point where it settles out. But the lower the better.


@ December 22, 2011 7:50 PM in Old Steam system

Not a huge concern. Ideally, the supply should enter the top, and exit the bottom. In a pumped system, there is no longer any gravity working on the water. Are the radiators heating properly?


@ December 21, 2011 11:07 PM in Help setting proper pressure for steam boiler.

Oh boy, that's high!

Set the main at 1 psi. Set the differential at 1 psi. It's not printed, but go halfway between 0 and 2. You may have to fine tune it later on if it causes problems. You should never need to run above 2 psi on a residential boiler.

Main is the cut-out pressure. Differential is the number subtracted from the main, and sets the cut-in pressure.


@ December 21, 2011 10:54 PM in More Draft With Damper Closed

I'm thinking, as well, that this is just a non-issue phenomenon. The draft isn't really rising. The perceived strength of the draft is rising. It's all relative?

There is a 90 right on top of the vent damper, one foot of pipe, two 45's, and 2 feet of pipe to the chimney. Very limited space to make any changes.

So, my initial draft is still too low. I think the chimney is on the same horizontal plane as the roof from the higher part of the house. It's a split level, and the chimney is on the outside wall of the lower (middle) level.

There is a natural-draft water heater as well. Get the same readings at the hood.


@ December 21, 2011 9:02 PM in More Draft With Damper Closed

Utica MGB has the front-style draft hood, or breech. The vent damper is right on top of the boiler. Draft readings were taken immediately after the damper. There is no barometric damper.

I get the same results whether the boiler is fired or not. I can cycle the damper open and closed by tripping the relay.

More Draft With Damper Closed

@ December 21, 2011 8:03 AM in More Draft With Damper Closed

Utica MGB100HID

Boiler had a leaking section covered under warranty. While I was there, the customer had previous complaints about an "exhaust smell" so I start checking draft. With the boiler running, I have -0.005" WC. When the boiler shuts down on temperature, the vent damper closes and my draft goes up to -0.03"WC.

There is a 6" flexible liner approximately 20 feet in length. Could it be oversized? Too short? My charts have it looking acceptable. 100K boiler with a 40K water heater.

When the damper closes. is it just accelerating the draft that's there already?


@ December 21, 2011 7:59 AM in Intermittent problems igniting boiler

I'd verify spark gap, and good grounding. If it only happens when the weather drops, I'd check for proper draft conditions in the chimney and through the boiler.


@ December 21, 2011 7:53 AM in Unique radiator (pic included) and proper pitch assistance needed

It depends on the amount of radiators connected to that pipe. He needs to know the EDR of the radiator, then match the piping to handle the amount of condensate produced.

What size is the riser pipe? Bigger than 3/4"?


@ December 21, 2011 7:46 AM in Gas Conversion Burner

I converted my own system with a Wayne Conversion Burner. Have it fired at 40MBTUH (slightly derated). Tuned up, it's running over 80% efficient. It cost a couple hundred at the time. I think it's a great option for a lower cost job. Just make sure you follow all of the directions...even the "suggested" ones!


@ December 21, 2011 7:41 AM in Icesaylor, Mark Eatherton, Timmy McElwain..............

Try removing the ignitor cable and rechecking voltage. Sometimes a faulty or grounded ignitor will draw too much power from the module and cause a voltage drop in the circuit. Also check 24V with and without load.
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