Joined on September 15, 2010
Last Post on December 4, 2013
@ November 26, 2013 12:51 PM in HELP! New to steam and have some issuesPost pics of the boiler from all sides that have pipes coming out of them, stand far enough back so we can see the boiler header, hartford loop, etc.
Check the slope on the steam mains and the radiator runouts. Are there any return pipes that connect together above the boiler waterline?
What pressure is the boiler running at and is the waterline steady?
Does the water appear to be reasonably clean, any signs of oil in the water? Has the boiler been skimmed?
@ November 26, 2013 12:16 PM in Radiator valve is TOO LOUD!This can be caused by several things -
- High pressure, the boiler should be running at 2 PSI or less
- Pipes and radiator not sloped, both need slope so water can find it's way back to the boiler.
- Is the boiler water clean, if it has oils in it you will produce wet steam. The water in the sight glass should not be moving around a lot when it's making steam.
- Venting, what kind of air vent does that radiator have and do you have vents on the steam main?
If none of these seems to help repost this in the strictly steam section.
@ November 26, 2013 7:49 AM in Comments On Boiler InstallationIF it does mahage to get steam up into your radiators (very doubtful) the cost of fuel will be horrendous. In the installation manual the boiler manufacturer has a minimum required piping diagram, if the boiler is not piped to that standard (or better) your boiler warranty is null and void.
If you look at that diagram and what you have it will become apparent that something is very wrong, we can give you a link to the boiler manual if you don't have one, just give us the manufacturer and model number. Take that all apart and pipe it per the manufactures requirements, be especially carful to the piping configuration and the pipe sizes. Remember that anything you do over and above the requirements will save fuel.
@ November 24, 2013 11:07 AM in noob questions with steamA 40 ft 2" main has about 0.87 cu ft of air in it; if it's a 2-1/2" main it has 1.36 cu ft of air. It sounds like you really do need more venting.
The mains should gently slope towards the boiler return in a parallel flow system; if it were a counterflow system the main would slope back towards the steam supply. Sometimes your eye can be fooled so it's best to use a level and stretch a line along the main and any long radiator runouts to be sure you don't have a sag that will pool water..
@ November 24, 2013 8:39 AM in Radiators Heat Only HalfwaySteam is lazy, it will go where there is least resistance, what size vents are on the other radiators on this riser? Now that you have fast venting on the riser you may have to reevaluate the venting on all the radiators on that branch.
Is there any noise involved now that you have vented the riser? maybe the horizontal pipe on the 5th floor has bad pitch? A bit of a stretch but who knows.
@ November 24, 2013 8:25 AM in Two Men and a Burner (A Midco saga)The empirical engineering that you and Joe are doing is top notch. Changing a single parameter through a range and observing the results gives you firm grip on what is going on inside the beast.
You can design things to death at a computer or on the drafting board but you never really know how it's going to work till you slap it on a piece of working equipment and put it through it's paces
keep up the good work,
@ November 24, 2013 8:14 AM in noob questions with steamYour boiler is probably to big for the system it is driving, that means it builds steam faster than the radiators can condense it so pressure starts to build. Now that you have lowered the operating pressure the boiler is reaching the setpoint earlier than it did when the pressuretol was set higher. The lower pressure setting will save fuel so you are ahead of the game.
How long are the steam mains in the basement? .If they are longer than 15 ft of 2" pie you might need more venting on the mains. You could just add another #1 to the exiting ones.
While your down there looking around use a level and make sure the pitch
on all the piping is correct, use a piece of string on long runs to
check for any dips in a pipe run. Water hammer is caused by steam collapsing when it comes across standing water, you have to find out where that standing water is. Also make sure all your radiators have a slight pitch towards the input pipe and make sure all radiator valves are fully open so water can exit the radiators easily.
Next make a list of your radiators and list the size (height, number of columns deep, number of columns wide), the vent on each one, the length of the run-out from the main and what floor it's on. This list will let you figure othe EDR of your radiators and then make sure the venting rates are right. If you vent a radiator too fast you create a lot of condensate and you can end up with uneven heat and sometimes make hammering worse.
My old boiler was three times to big for my system but by running at low pressure and venting the mains fast and the radiators slowly I had a system that heated economically, evenly and quietly but it did short cycle because it was just to big.
@ November 23, 2013 11:16 AM in Smith becomes WestcastWill they still be selling the G8 series of boilers?
@ November 22, 2013 7:36 PM in too high steam boiler pressureI'm glad it's working right now, it's supposed to get cold Sunday and Monday.
@ November 21, 2013 9:11 PM in too high steam boiler pressureThe valves at both ends of your sight gauge should be open so the glass can sense the boiler water level.
Assuming the pressuretrol is set to 2 psi or less on the front and 1 on the little white dial inside your boiler pressure should only be 1.5 to 2 psi. It's likely the pigtail between the pressuretrol and the boiler is plugged. Take it apart and make sure it's clear.Then turn that pressuretrol upside down and make sure the tiny hole at the base of the brass fitting is clear.
@ November 21, 2013 7:46 AM in LWCO demise, is this a replacement I can do?for letting us know how it all turned out. You might want to find out where Matt is working now in case you ever need help.
@ November 21, 2013 7:37 AM in Steam trapIt looks like you are using Heat Timer Varivalves on that radiator, what is the vent rate set to? That particular vent can be set so it vents MUCH TOO FAST. You might try tuning them all down low and see how the system works then, it will heat slower but lets see if the water accumulation stops.
How many radiators does the system have and what model is your boiler? Does the water in the sight glass bounce up and down a lot when it is making steam? If there is a lot of bounce that indicates you have oils in the boiler water and skimming has to be done to remove the water.
Do you have any water hammer? Do all the radiators pitch back towards the input pipe. On a single pipe system the radiator valve has to be fully open or fully closed. it can't be in between Do all the pipes have proper pitch? Don't trust your eyes use a level.
@ November 19, 2013 3:05 PM in Please help with banging steam pipes!Trying to clean the old gauge makes sense but even when it's working it's useless for measuring low pressure. Adding a second 0-3 PSI low pressure gauge would allow the user to see exactly what pressure re the boiler was trying to operate at.
@ November 19, 2013 1:58 PM in One of the many reasons...I grew up in Quincy, Mass and can remember the USS Long Beach (CGN-9), being built at the Fore River ship yard in the 60's. As a teenager I can remember watching that ship come by the beach and thinking how grand she looked. That yard built the Wasp before WWII and a lot of other fighting vessels before and after the war as well.
The shipyard has been closed now for at least 20 years, all those jobs are gone Most of the guys i grew up with finished high school and went into the military, some of them never came back. That was a different time and it's one I miss, most people were willing to put their lives on the line for this country.
@ November 19, 2013 10:12 AM in Please help with banging steam pipes!There have to be some good steam men in your area, that is prime steam country. Try asking friends and neighbors for their recommendations.
If I were you I would order "The Lost Art of Steam Heating" from this site, it's very well written and will give you all the information you need to know what is wrong with your system. At that point you could tell a good plumber exactly what you want done if you can't find a steam pro. We cannot see what you see so you have to educate yourself on how steam systems work.
Next I would check the steam mains to make sure there isn't a good place you could mount some air venting. How many steam mains do you have, what size pipe and how long are they?
After that I would installing a auxiliary 0-3 PSI gauge and try that boiler at a few ounces of pressure, right now you have no idea of what pressre it is running at. The fact it heats slower BUT it sounds like its shutting down on pressure tells me the vaporstat you have is seeing the actual boiler pressure - whatever that might be.
The loss of water is very serious unless it comes back after the boiler shuts down and cools a bit. that may mean the returns and loop seals have to be taken apart and snaked out.
Do any of the radiators seem to heat faster than others at this lower pressure setting? If they do and they are on the same steam main that may be an important clue.
How much will it cost to fix the system? It could be hundreds or it could be thousands, installing a new boiler before you understand why the system is not working correctly might just be pouring money down the drain. This is going to be expensive so you need to understand it before you undertake it - buy the book!
@ November 17, 2013 9:30 PM in Please help with banging steam pipes!It appears that reducing the pressure did not quiet your anvil symphony.
How does the system heat (aside from te chorus), do all the radiators heat up and do they all heat up at about the same time? If there is a radiator that does not heat and the valve is open it might be wise to inspect it's supply pipe to make sure there are no sags that might have puddles in them that would collapse the steam and could cause water hammer.
When you ran the boiler after setting the pressure lower did you notice any difference in the operation of the boiler. Did it cycle on pressure or did anything sound different before the chorus master set up his hammers?
Another issue is you have a non-functioning pressure gauge so we don't know if the pressure in the boiler is 0.5 pounds or 5 pounds. I would get that gauge working asap and i would make sure the pigtail on your vaporstat is not clogged. We have to know what the pressure is inside that boiler and we have to know if the vaporstat is doing it;'s job.
@ November 17, 2013 4:07 PM in Please help with banging steam pipes!The reason I asked you to look at the chimney is if there is a leak in the boiler it might be leaking into the fire chamber and the flame is turning the leak into steam so you might not spot a leak at the base of the boiler. Is there a lot of rust at the base of the boiler? Make sure it's a cold day and the boiler is actively making steam, if you see white smoke it's probably steam and there is only one place that steam can be coming from.
At some point your pressure gauge should be replaced so you know what's going on in the boiler. You might want to a a second 0-3PSI gauge onto your existing pigtail that is feeding the vaporstat because that system should probably be operating at ounces not pounds of pressure.
@ November 17, 2013 3:39 PM in Please help with banging steam pipes!Are any of your return pipes buried under the cellar floor? On a cold day while the boiler is steaming go outside and see if you can sea any steam coming out of the chimney.
If looks like the sight glass has a leak and that probably indicates a gauge glass washer is shot. If you try and fix this make sure tou have a set of guage glass washers and a new sight glass because it's easy to break them when removing them.
@ November 17, 2013 3:31 PM in Please help with banging steam pipes!Is your pressure gauge broken, does it read zero when the boiler is cold?
I'm not familiar with that pressure device (Vaporstat?) but if it is the only one on the boiler it seems it's set to about 3.6psi with an 8oz differential. If that is true it sounds much to high for a 2 pipe steam system. Try turning that left control down to 1 lb and see if it helps.
I would replace the glass in the sight glass so you can better see what is going on and then flush and perhaps skim the boiler. If you flush and skim do it when the boiler is cold or just warm, you don't want to add a lot of fresh water to hot boiler. Bring the boiler up to steam after filling it with water the last time so you drive all the oxygen out of the fresh water.
@ November 17, 2013 2:21 PM in Skimming without a skim portDo you see a lot of bouncing in the sight glass that makes you think you have oils in the boiler water? The boiler water might just be dirty. If the waterline appears stable you might try draining and filling the boiler a couple of times till the water appears to be pretty clean.This should be done when the boiler is cold or just warm -n you don't want to be adding a lot of cold water to a hot boiler. When you refill the boiler the last time you want to bring it up to steam to drive off the oxygen in the water.
To answer your original question you can use the upper gauge glass port to skim from if you think you have oils in the water. If you have a valve at the base of the lower cock you can close the lower gauge glass cock and then open up that valve at the base of the lower cock and then when you SLOWLY add water to the boiler it will come out of the top gauge glass port and down through the glass and out to a bucket. The top port is best because it gives you a chance to get any oils that might be clinging to the boiler walls.
When your done you might consider adding a steam master tablet to the boiler to keep the water clean if you can figure out how to get it in there.
@ November 16, 2013 1:15 PM in Only 1/2 of my house seems to get any heat - help?Usually those two pressuretrols are wired in series so the one set for 5 PSI is a safety for the real pressure control which looks like it's set for 2 PSI. It's possible there is something wrong (disconnected linkage) with the pressuretrol that is set to 2 PSI because that one should be regulating your boiler UNLESS you have a staged firing setup where the boiler fires high till there is some pressure and switches to low fire to just keep the boiler slowly making steam.
If it is just a safety with the other pressuretrol doing the actual pressure control they have to be looked at to make sure they are both working and that they are correctly wired.
The gauge might by faulty, does the pressure gauge read zero when the boiler is cold or just warm?
What kind of oil gun do you have?
@ November 16, 2013 10:17 AM in Radiators fill with waterThere are screws on the top surface of the pressuretrol that you can adjust, set the main at 2 or lower and the differential to one. The differential may be a white wheel behind the front cover.