Dave in QCA
Joined on May 6, 2010
Last Post on December 9, 2013
@ December 9, 2013 10:11 AM in Coal Still Feasible?I looked into burning coal as well. I found one small supplier in Ames, Iowa, located in the middle of the state. In Illinois, was not not able to find any supply at all.
@ December 9, 2013 9:53 AM in Clarification on steam boiler sizingYour Boiler DOE output = 127,000 BTU
Your Radiation = 82,560 BTU + (18% Pickup factor) 14,861 + (actual piping loss) 29,040 = 126,461 BTU. Your boiler DOE output needs to match this or slightly exceed, which it does.
Using Dan's method of a 50% piping and pickup factor for uninsulated pipes,
82560 BTU + (50% piping and pickup factor for uninsulated pipes) 41,280 =123,840 BTU. Again, this is less than the output of your boiler.
In your post, you said, "So my assumption is that by taking the net rating of 127000BTUH and dividing by 240BTU/SQFT EDR, the boiler is rated at 529 sqft EDR, including pickup factor.(Since removing the .34 factor, gives me the 396 sqft EDR NET IBR rating."
That is not correct, because the Boiler EDR rating is only a calculated number, based on the DOE output and reducing for the the piping and pickup factor. It is there to aid in matching the boiler to a system without having to do all of the calculations. 127,000 BTU is not the NET, it is the DOE output, or the Gross Output. If you take a calculated Boiler EDR rating and remove the piping and pickup factor, then it is no longer the Boiler EDR rating. Not sure what it is...
Do I understand correctly from another post, that you are saying that the system builds up to 2 psi and you still have no heat in one of the radiators? If that is the case, then there is something else wrong. If your boiler has the ability to build 2 psi pressure in the system, it is NOT undersized.
@ December 8, 2013 10:41 AM in Clarification on steam boiler sizingCommon system types were Moline, Dunham, Trane, Arco, Hoffman, etc. Most were intended to be operated at 8 oz or less. Some of the systems, (Dunham) are inherently unbalanced without orifice plates in the inlet valves.
I have a 1910 Dunham systems that was impossible to balance. I discovered that "regulating plates" were originally recommended by Dunham. After installing plates purchased from Tunstall, the system operates great!! Really Really Great!
Remember on your return line, that 1 psi in the boiler equals 30" water column, so if you have 2 psi in the boiler, the returns will stack up 60" and if that is as high as the lateral return piping the boiler will push water out the return and up into that piping. Many times condensate pumps were added. Some original systems had a return trap that used steam from the boiler to equalize the pressure in a small vessel and allow the condensate to return by gravity.
Please post pictures of your boiler and near piping, also supply valves and traps on the radiators.
First thing, turn down the pressure, you will probably need a vaporstat to control it low.
Also, in your calculations, you are still double counting the piping. The normal piping and pickup factor of 34% includes 15% for piping losses and about 18% for pickup. So, if you actually measure your piping losses, you would not use 34% top of that, you would use 18%. According to that, it appears that your boiler is not oversized. I have a hunch that the problems lie elsewhere.
@ December 7, 2013 1:31 PM in ultra low pressure ARCO system maintained at higher pressureis there any modifications to the original piping, such as places where the condensate has to be pushed up to a higher elevation?
@ December 7, 2013 1:11 PM in Probably a question you are asked alot..Be Nice and don't talk price.
There is an amazing amount of knowledge and help that is passed freely between folks on the fantastic forum. Questions come form all sorts of sources, homeowners, contractors, steam pros (with a particular problem that is puzzling them), and the list goes on. Information, some spot on, and other times not, also comes from all sources. The only qualification for participating is that you have a question, or an answer. Being that this is a free and open exchange of ideas, there is no implication that the information offered up is 100% accurate. This is a forum, not an online consulting engineer service.
About a year ago, one of the most dedicated and knowledgeable responding helpers on HH suddenly took leave and his presence and knowledge were sorely missed. It was all over a totally unnecessary and offensive online smack down that had taken place. Something that very rarely takes place on here. Thankfully, the person did return and is again offer great help and assistance.
So gentlemen, I would ask that you follow Dan's Rules, Be Nice! And, if you can't do that, at least keep your arguments and insults private. You can message each other without posting the insults in this thread. On some base level, the smack talk is entertaining, but most of all, it is just embarrassing. So, Please please, please...... be nice!
@ December 7, 2013 12:16 PM in Clarification on steam boiler sizingTechnically speaking, the 34% pickup factor is actually two separate factors added together, usually stated as piping and pickup factor. It consists of 15% for piping losses and another 18-20% pickup factor to allow for even distribution of steam on a start-up due to the inherent characteristics of steam systems, particularly cast iron steam systems. The two are rounded off to 34%. Dan suggests using 50% when the mains are not insulated.
All of this reminds me a little bit of a Boiler Chemical Rep that serviced my account many years ago. His favorite phrase was, we tend to measure it with a micrometer and cut it with a chainsaw.
@ December 7, 2013 11:13 AM in ultra low pressure ARCO system maintained at higher pressureIs the ARCO system with 35 cast iron radiator all that is connected to this boiler, or are there other parts to the overall system?
@ November 29, 2013 9:29 PM in Steam riser: flange or coupling?If it were my system, 2" or smaller I'd use a union. Anything larger I'd use flanges.
@ November 28, 2013 11:43 PM in Burner retrofit for scotch boxI have been responsible for boilers and control systems in buildings, one complex had probably about 1000 Johnson control devices. If found the system to be reliable and very functional. Of course, like everything, it does require maintenance. Air dryers are not all that expensive. Check on ebay for a used one. They normally will run for 30 years or more no more maintenance than cleaning the dust off the condenser. Rubber diaphrams for valve operators do fail, but are easy to replace.
If it were my system, I would very accurately tune the existing burner and put my money into getting the controls working. Broken controls equal wasted heat. Its pretty much like the old systems where the heat ran full blast and the control system consisted of opening the windows to cool the space down.
What make of system do you have?
@ November 28, 2013 10:47 PM in Two Pipe Steam - Air Vents and some other confusionAs always, very nice job, Joe. I have also seen that Dunham traps tend to fail closed, but sometimes, a radiator trap can be open and won't close. I think it is because the thermostatic element comes apart allowing the the disc to lay on the seat. Sometimes the cycle might cause it to be moved to the side, allowing air and steam to pass.
The old crossover traps looked like they might be Dunham Air Service valves. They were often used as crossovers. I found a couple on my 2 indirects, and they too were failed closed.
@ November 27, 2013 5:47 PM in Oil to Gas conversion 2 pipe steam system low heatI see a dunham Air Eliminator but no Dunham Return Trap. Thus, that would make it a Dunham Home Heating System. It looks like someone has added a convector vent to the top of the air eliminator, an indication that some of the traps have failed open and have never been repaired. The convector vent will restrict the venting WAY to much, and that may be the reasons that vents have been added to the radiators. Or, sometimes the dunham traps will fail closed.... and thus the need for the vent.
The solution is to repair the traps and correct the horrendous boiler piping. You usually and find dunham or mepco discs on ebay. That is dunham bush 1E or Mepco 1E.
@ November 27, 2013 8:36 AM in Oil to Gas conversion 2 pipe steam system low heatEveryone has given good advice, but I will add something short to help clarify. There are only 3 things that are going to shut the boiler off. 1, the thermostat , 2. the pressuretroll. 3. The Low Water Cutoff.
It is possible for the thermostat to cycle off even when it is not satisfied. So, you might have to remove it and twist the wires together and see if that corrects the problem. I suspect it won't. That leaves the pressuretrol and the LWCO. The venting cannot shut the boiler off unless it is causing a rise in pressure because the air cannot get out of the piping fast enough. That does not sound like what is happening.
You boiler installer has an obligation to make the boiler work.
@ November 27, 2013 8:01 AM in Weil-McLain EGH ratings loweredWhat it means for you as a homeowner is that you own and EGH-85 that came out of the factory before it was redesigned. While we know that there are 2 changes, lowering of the firing rate and the addition of baffles, there may be other changes to the design of the block and the combustion chamber that we do not know about.
Since we do not know what all of the changes are, it would be unwise to attempt to make field changes to your boiler unless those were approved by Weil-McLain in writing.
As for lowering the firing rate, it can be done by changing the orifice in each burner or slightly lowering the pressure to the manifold. I would not recommend either of these unless you determine that your boiler is oversized. Also, while lowering your firing rate by 10% might not have an effect on the efficiency, lowering more on an atmospheric boiler often has the effect of significant drops in efficiency. The reason is, in an atmospheric set up, you can regulate the primary air to each burner so it is burning at optimum mix, but the secondary air, that being the air that comes in around the burner flame and mixes with it in the combustion area, cannot be controlled. If you reduce the size of the fire, the proportion of the fuel fire / air mixture changes and it takes engineering, not adjustment, to balance it. On a power burner, you have the ability to tune the total air and thus can tune in efficiency at whatever rate you decide to fire at.
So, as an owner of an old version of the EGH-85, the fact that the new ones coming out of the factory are different means nothing for you.
@ November 26, 2013 1:32 PM in HELP! New to steam and have some issuesNice pics of the boiler. The Burnham v-9 is a great boiler, a real work horse. However, the manner in which the boiler risers are connected to the header is BAD. At a minimum, the risers should enter the side of the header. Best, they should rise up, then go sideways with a swing joint and drop into the top of the header. This will allow the water to drain back to the equalizer and yield very dry steam. Also, the building main connections to the header must NOT be between the boiler risers.
How does the return piping come back. Is there a return trap? An air eliminator? Condensate pump? That's something we need to see too.
@ November 26, 2013 12:46 PM in HELP! New to steam and have some issuesPictures will help a LOT so that we can see the boiler install and the components and type of system you have. You say you have traps, so it's probably a vapor system, intended to run at 8 oz or less.
Your situation sounds somewhat like mine. I bought a place with a 2-pipe system and someone had installed vents on about half the radiators. Many traps were failed closed, main were failed open. I started with trap repair and removed the vents.... then went on from there.
The step by step process is pretty much chronicled at
The trials and errors of my project may be of some help to you.
Post some pictures as soon as you can. There are at least a dozen people on here who will do a great job of helping you out.
@ November 26, 2013 12:26 PM in Burner retrofit for scotch boxIt appears that the company that owns Hurst, http://www.federalcorp.com/ May also own Powerflame Burners. At any rate, I would go back to Hurst Boiler and see what their advice is. If parts are the only issue, I would be that you will be able to service that burner for LONG time. All of the parts should pretty much be off the shelf, i.e. honeywell gas valves, fire eye controlls, and so forth.
I am going to assume that the boiler has turbulators in the flue tubes. If not, you should add them. That, and lowering the firing rate is the only way to decrease the stack temperature. Low stack temperature is not the only indicator of efficiency of course. Do you run a combustion analyzer on that boiler? What readings do you get?
@ November 26, 2013 11:58 AM in SPENCER RF 240 steam BoilerHave you had the current boiler evaluated by a boiler repair specialist? By that, I mean someone who is qualified to repair a fire-tube boiler. The reason that I ask is that these old beasts can often keep on going past the 100 year mark. The expendable part are the tubes, and re-tubing a boiler is not that huge of a deal. The rest of the beast is very heavy plate steel and may be in very good condition. You never know unless you have it evaluated by a qualified professional.
The good thing about a fire tube boiler is their efficiency. With a finely tuned burner and turbulators inserted in the flues, you are going to have an efficiency in the 80-85% for sure. Also, you generally can down fire this type of boiler as much as 50% with no loss in efficiency.
As for the INPUT rating that you are looking for, that boiler should be rated in H.P., Horsepower. See if you can find that and someone here will work out the conversion. Of course, if you are working on the question of sizing the new boiler, a complete survey of the radiators in the building is what you need to do.
@ November 25, 2013 10:40 PM in Weil-McLain EGH ratings loweredUtica has redesigned the heat exchanger. See the files that Rod attached. The Patent application clearly shows the pins stopping at the water level and additionally, there is a shield that slips over that upper part of the section that has no pins.
@ November 25, 2013 10:34 PM in Adding a radiator to a riserThey're 1 1/2", but much more radiation, but within the maximum allowable for 1 1/2.
@ November 25, 2013 10:23 PM in Adding a radiator to a riserI have several risers in my building that feed both the 2nd floor and the 3rd floor radiators. It have never caused any kind of a problem for us
@ November 25, 2013 5:19 PM in Weil-McLain EGH ratings loweredRod, I agree completely. I may have been part of the converation on Megasteam efficiency. On oil, it is high enough to get the Magic Energy Star rating. On gas, it most likely would not. I think that is the krux of it. But, I still don't see why they don't just give it another name. Or... The could go back to the drawing board on the Independence and figure out how to make an atmospheric where there is not heating surface above the water line. I'm sure it can be done. Hell. of course it can. I just imagined it in my mind.
No, not planning on putting baffles in my WM 680. I'm getting pretty good performance and reduced the consumption when compared to the old ECR/Pennco by 30%. I'm happy about that!
@ November 25, 2013 4:09 PM in New steam boilerHere is a picture of a welded header that is installed correctly. Install was by Jamie Pompetti.
Hint you could take the header back to the shop and cut it in half, spin the supply end 90 degrees and weld it back together. The rest of the repiping won't be that hard. Can';t see the equalizer end very well, but remember, ideally the equalizer needs to be vertical until below the hardford loop connection, i.e., below the water line. If it is absolutly necessary, you can turn 45 degrees, but not horizontal above the water line.