Joined on September 15, 2010
Last Post on March 11, 2014
@ February 22, 2014 3:44 PM in loud banging after oil->gas conversion can't sleepA main vents job is to expel all the air in the boiler and steam main so steam can fill the mains. It;'s important that this air be expelled quickly so steam will be available to all the radiators at the same time.
Someplace along the main there should be a spot to mount a main vent. They are usually located towards the end of the main. Some look like a large version of a radiator vent and others look like a tuna can on edge.
I see what looks like a wet return running along the floor, if you follow that back to where it goes up and joins the steam main you may find a main vent in that general area. One usually finds a main vent towards the end of each steam main.
@ February 22, 2014 12:38 PM in loud banging after oil->gas conversion can't sleepVarivalves can cause more problems than they fix if they are not used carefully. The best practice is to vent the mains very fast and the radiators slowly. You might try adjusting the lever on the varivalves down to the low end. At some point you might be best off replacing them with Gortons, Hoffmans, or Maid o Mist vents. Don't use the cheapo's they sell at the big box stores.
What kind of vents are on your steam mains and were they replaced with the new boiler?
@ February 22, 2014 7:17 AM in loud banging after oil->gas conversion can't sleepbut it can be fixed. I agree with everything NBC has gone over, the piping is not optimal and should be configured like the layout in the manual. The equalizer line that comes down to the boiler return should be at least 1-1/4" pipe and it should drop straight down off the boiler header (which is misconfigured). It can angle over after it's dropped down and it would be best if that drop could be 1-1/2" pipe and then reduce and be angled (for a nice steady water line).
You are probably seeing a lot of movement in the gauge glass and it looks like there may still be some oil in the system. It will take several long slow skimming sessions to get that oil out of the boiler, the installer should have installed a full sized skim port and valve so that can be done. Skimming has to be done anytime a boiler is changed or any work is done to the piping, it has to be done very slow so the oils can float off a calm water surface, it should take a few hours to fill a 5 gallon bucket. You ope the skim valve fully and just trickle water into the boiler to slowly raise the water level to the skim port.
Make sure none of the steam mains were moved during the install, use a level to make sure the mains all have proper slope and that there are are no dips that MIGHT TRAP WATER. If steam comes across standing water it will collapse and that can cause the bang you hear.
@ February 20, 2014 9:20 PM in A little advice on a new steam system pleaseBut before tackling that, is this system running at 7 PSI? A steam system will run fine at 2 PSI or (hopefully) less.
Skimming can be done cold or hot but should be done VERY slowly, it should take a couple of hours to draw off a 5 gallon bucket and the water should never get up to a boil while skimming. The key is to draw water slowly off a calm water surface.
If there is no fitting on the main for a main vent you cal drill and tap to put one in. Ideally the vent should be after the last radiator runout and should be as high as possible.
Is this a counterflow system? If it is you may have to get creative because the end of the main might be pretty tight.
@ February 20, 2014 2:21 PM in Pictures of existing system that needs replacementMy iMac can't access those links.
@ February 20, 2014 9:44 AM in 815 arco air eliminator eruptionHas anything been done recently that might have caused the piping to shift?
Also if your presuretrol were not sensing the pressure in the boiler because of a clogged pigtail your pressure might be higher than it should be. A system like that should be running at very low pressure, do you know what pressure it's running at and do you trust your pressure gauge?
Something has changed and you have to figure out what that might be.
@ February 19, 2014 8:02 PM in Last Rites?if your town gets water from the Quabbin the quality of the water should not be an issue BUT if the town gets it's water from wells it could be a problem.
I don't see any glaring problems with your piping. Make sure you find someone who is really good on steam systems when you get the system fixed. It's not going to be cheap but it's important it be done correctly so it lasts for a long time.
@ February 19, 2014 6:34 PM in Steam utilities (Excel)you can only upload JPG and PDF files to the wall.
@ February 19, 2014 6:32 PM in Last Rites?Before replacing the section or boiler try to find out why it failed so soon.
Has it been using water for a long period of time? A steam boiler should use very little water, if you start having to add water more than once a month find out why, fresh water contains oxygen and that eats cast iron..
Was the old boiler near boiler piping correct? Incorrect near boiler piping can shorten a boilers life, post some pictures of what you have now so we can tell you if there is a problem with the way its piped.
Some areas of the country have high chlorides in the water (areas of eastern MA and RI for example), find out if the water in your area has high chlorides.
If you have any of these problems and fix it your new boiler should have a nice long life.
@ February 18, 2014 10:04 PM in Trying to drain water too fullassume it is open, until proven wrong. the valve you show will lower the water level.
However there should also be a drain valve on the boiler itself. The one you found will work but see if you can find another. Breaking a valve is a PITA but it's important that all valves work; when the heating season is over do whatever has to be done to be sure all valves are operational.
@ February 18, 2014 9:01 PM in Trying to drain water too fullon the boiler, where the system return is there is a valve with a hose fitting on it. First make sure both valves on the gauge glass are open (full CCW) Put a pan or a bucket under that and open the valve. When the water level in the glass is right turn that valve back off and you should be ok.
@ February 18, 2014 7:42 PM in Pressuretrol settinghas a cycle guard on it the boiler will shut down every 10 to 20 minutes of run time depending on which model you have. That LWCO shuts the boiler down to check the water level with a calm water surface and it does so for 90 seconds. The most aggravating thing is it adds up the time and will shut the boiler down when the run time hits the setpoint, if the boiler ran for 19 minutes on the last run, it will shut down after 1 minute on the next call for heat.
makes no sense at all to me.
@ February 18, 2014 12:55 PM in Steam boiler replacement quoteIf you and your uncle decide to do this yourself you will have the support of a lot of people on this board, they will give you any information you need.
Post some pictures of the current boiler and the piping so we can tell you what we think. If you decide to let someone install it for you at least you will know what has to be fixed in addition to "connecting it up to the existing piping".
@ February 18, 2014 11:14 AM in Steam boiler replacement quotei would ask the contractor why he wants to install a boiler of that size and I would also ask that he agree to follow the manufacturer's piping diagram for configuration and pipe sizes at a minimum. All steam carrying piping to be done in threaded steel pipe.
Additionally ask that he install proper venting on the mains and radiators. He should also inspect and correct any existing piping deficiencies after quoting the costs to do so.
A boiler will last a long time if it's installed correctly so it's important to have it done right.
@ February 16, 2014 1:53 PM in clanking soundsIt sounds like there is water sitting in a horizontal pipe that gets worse when there is more water condensing (from radiators that are busy converting steam into condensate). Slow venting all around might help, a thermostatic valve in your neighbors unit might help but there is now way of telling.
If the problem is in the horizontal runout to your or your neighbors radiators it would be worthwhile trying raise each radiator about 1/2" or so (individually) to see if that helps.The true fix would be to find and fix the horizontal pipe but that would entail a lot of dismantling.
@ February 13, 2014 9:29 PM in New furnace started kicking after a season of quietIt's possible that some of the pipe slopes have changed because the house has settled, I know my 1918 house had issues after getting the boiler changed. Go over any horizontal pipe you can get to and make sure they all have some slope and that you don't have a dip somewhere (use a level, don't trust your eye) that might be pooling water.
@ February 13, 2014 8:50 PM in New furnace started kicking after a season of quietThat boiler is not piped per the manufacturers recommendation and I'm a bit surprised it was once working well. If you compare the piping diagram in the installation manual to what you have it will become apparent that the installer was very innovative.
The fact it was working tells me that something has changed (maybe something partially clogged), try lowering the water level a little bit and see if that changes the way it acts.
@ February 13, 2014 11:46 AM in Radiators Hissing and steaming after insulation appliedIf you have 100 ft of 2" pipe you have to vent about 2.2 cu ft of air, that old vent might be good for 0.1 CFM if it's working correctly. It will take 20 minutes for that vent to clear out the air and you are paying for that every time the boiler turns on. You would like to reduce that time to a minute or two and that main should be insulated.
You should probably have 2ea Gorton #2 vents on that main. The problem is they are large vents (7" tall or so), how long is the 3/4" pipe your vent is on top of? That might be replaceable with a shorter pipe so an antler could be build for multiple vents.
@ February 13, 2014 11:18 AM in Radiators Hissing and steaming after insulation appliedThat vent is probably much too small, how long is the steam main it comes off of and about what size pipe is it? From that we can calculate the volume of air that has to be removed. Also how much height is there above that vent?
Replacing one just takes a good wrench and some teflon tape.
@ February 13, 2014 7:24 AM in Continuing water hammer issuesYour hartford loop connection looks like it is at least a foot long - it is supposed to about 1 inch long. I can see where the wet returns all join together below the water line and then it comes up and joins the equalizer, that connection is supposed to be a close nipple not a foot long. That can cause all kinds of problems. The piping diagram is usually very specific about near boiler piping, compare the diagram with what you have.
Post more pictures so we can see if there are any other areas that need addressing.
@ February 12, 2014 5:32 PM in Kenawee Smokeless Firebox No. 1112000 pounds of coal equals 180 gallons of oil; if its a large building it would take a lot of coal when you consider the efficiency of those old monsters.
@ February 12, 2014 3:52 PM in Can I replace this pressuretrol with a vaporstatThe right vaporstat will allow the boiler to run in a lower pressure range IF the pigtail is clear and the port into the boiler is also clear. It usually is not worth replacing a working pressuretrol in most cases but if your going to have to install a new one it's probably worth paying extra for the vaporstat.
All you have to do is unwire the old one (after disconnecting the power), twist it off and twist on the new one (and wiring it up). make sure pipe dope or teflon tape is used on the plumbing connections.