Joined on September 15, 2010
Last Post on March 7, 2014
@ February 7, 2014 10:51 AM in Should I switch...and a few other questions.I looked into doing the same with my Burnham v75 a few years back but decided against it because that particular boiler had known issues that told me it just wasn't going to last. I did install a Smith G8 and EZ-Gas 15 months ago (after my oil tank developed a slight drip) and have saved a lot of money on fuel costs.
Nobody can say for sure how long your old boiler will last but if you replace the burner with a gas gun you will save a lot of money on fuel - gas is just a lot cheaper than oil. You will have to install a stainless steel chimney liner and that boiler will have to be well cleaned now and again after the first season. The installer has to know what he is doing and the gas burner has to be set up with a combustion analyzer for safe and proper operation. Even with a new boiler you would need the chimney liner.
If I were you I'd have it converted to gas because if it fails in a year you can just put the gas gun in a new Smith or Slant Fin boiler. have the installer determine the EDR of all the radiators so the firing rate is correct. The EZ-Gas is good up to 250,000 BTU and there are other models that go up from there.
@ February 5, 2014 9:14 PM in Your biggest radiator??How many flights of stairs will it have to ascend?
@ February 3, 2014 9:00 PM in Air vent leaking on 1-pipe steam radiatorIt sounds like something is pitched wrong on that radiator or the pipe that feeds it. It's important that everything has a little pitch so water can find it's way back to the boiler. Put a level on the radiator and make sure there is a little pitch towards the input pipe. If it is pitched wrong you can probably shim the vent end up a bit with quarters or a wood shim. Also make sure that radiator valve is fully open.
If the radiator appears to have the correct pitch the problem could be in the pipe under the floor. In that case it might be possible to shim all four legs enough to get everything to drain properly. be careful when trying to lift the radiator so you don't cause any damage to the piping or your back.
@ February 3, 2014 7:26 PM in Help, please, with main venting, double radiator venting Q'sDo your main vents get hot at about the same time? If they do not then something is making it easier for the steam to travel down one main than the other.
If you can set the main vents up the way I explained it would be the same as having that vent in the preferred location, it's always best to get vents up as far as your head space allows also.
What kind of vents are on the other radiators in the system? It's usually best to vent radiators slowly and mains fast so they all get steam at about the same time. Starting out with slow vents on everything then increasing the vent rates on the problem radiators to see if that helps. You can add vents on risers or on the supply side of a problem radiator to speed the delivery of steam but make sure all the piping and the radiators are sloped correctly first.
@ February 3, 2014 6:17 PM in slow moving steam and trust issuesbetween the two mains?
How long is each one and what size pipe?
How many radiators feed off each main?
What kind of air vents are on the radiators and are they the same type on the radiators on each main?
Check each main with a level to make sure they are pitched the same and then stretch some string along each one to see if there is a dip in one main. Check the radiators to be sure they have some pitch towards the steam supply pipe. Also make sure any horizontal radiator runouts have good pitch.
Also make sure that all returns don't tie together till they are below the waterline of the boiler.
In general you want to vent the mains fast and the radiators slowly, that way steam should get to all the radiators at about the same time. Try timing the steam travel on each main to see if it just seems to die at a particular point.
The boiler is piped wrong and should be fixed at some point but lets see if we can detect a difference between the two mains first. Once we know whats diffent we can suggest a cure for the uneven heating.
@ February 3, 2014 12:42 PM in Help, please, with main venting, double radiator venting Q'sRather than drilling and tapping the main it would be easier to remove the existing vent and use an elbow with a 12-16" nipple and another elbow to mount the vent(s) on. Just make sure the horizontal nipple has a little slope so water can find it's way back to the boiler.
The amount of venting you need depends on the amount of air in each main, your Gorton #2 vent is rated at 1.1CFM - if your main has 2 cubic feet of air in it you would need 2 of those to vent the main quickly.
Check all horizontal piping with a level (don't trust your eyes) to make sure it has the correct slope; if you suspect a dip in a main stretch some string along it and see what it looks like. Put a level on every radiator, some may need a little shimming to ensure water drains out. Any pooling water in a pipe or radiator will collapse steam, you want to hunt those pools down and eliminate them.
@ February 3, 2014 7:35 AM in Mystery Pipes? ...or just a dumb question?In the 5th picture I see a main air vent that has to let all the air in the pipes out before the steam can fill them. It's to small and could be costing you fuel - at $4 a gallon you don't want to waste it.
How long is that steam main and what size pipe is it?
@ February 2, 2014 7:58 AM in How do i fixed mis-pitched main pipealong the main and use that to judge whats going on as you raise the sag in the main. Then figure out how to get a pipe hanger to hold it in the correct place once you have it in the right place.
@ February 2, 2014 7:52 AM in Gauge Glass - Odd filmy movementDraw a little water off the boiler into a pan and boil it on the stove, if it acts differently than boiling water usually does it probably has oils in it. When skimming you want to draw the water off at just a trickle, it should take hours to fill a 5 gallon bucket.
I bought PH test strips at Amazon, you need the range from 6-12 so don't buy the ones that go from 1-14.
@ January 30, 2014 9:33 AM in Regulating temp in small apartment buildingI agree this sounds like a venting problem. Make sure the main vents on the system are working and adequately sized. Generally you want to vent the mains fast and the radiators slowly. The Hoffman 1A is a good vent but it is the devil to adjust because of the way it is made. What kind of radiator vents are being used now?
i would suggest using the Maid O mist that comes with 5 orifices that make it pretty foolproof to adjust vent rates, they are very affordable.
@ January 29, 2014 11:07 AM in Help ID cause for leaky radiator valve!Pexsupply sells pipe extenders in sizes up to 1-1/4", your local supply house should have them but I don't know if the big box stores carry them -
Be careful thatb using one of these doesn't leave you with insufficient slope under the floor. You can always use a 1/4 or 1/2" strip of wood to raise the radiator up and protect the floor.
@ January 29, 2014 8:41 AM in STEAM BOILER ADDS WATERWhen you say the water eventually comes back, does the boiler end up being filled too high? If it doesn't you are losing a lot of water and that boiler will not be long for this world if it continues. A steam boiler should only need water every few weeks at most. If the boiler did not end up overfull you have a leak and it must be found. Try shutting the auto feed off and sit and wait for the level to drop, when it drops enough the boiler will stop. See how long it takes the water to come back and if ALL of it comes back.
Some bounce in the sight glass is normal but if it all disappears at some point you have a problem. Post some pictures of the boiler and the piping around it.
Are you sure there aren't any leaks and have you tried overfilling the boiler to check for leaks in the boiler itself?I assume you have a float type low water cut off, has it been flushed a couple of times a month and has it ever been disassembled and cleaned - they tend to fill with crud over time if they aren't flushed regularly.
The air vents may well be working, try holding a piece of paper up to them to see if air is escaping, be careful using your hands because steam will burn you. It's important that the air in the steam mains get out hast, whoever replaced the single vent with three was right on the mark. have him look at your system and find out where the water is going.
@ January 29, 2014 8:19 AM in Help ID cause for leaky radiator valve!true and square it should seal, just make sure both faces of the union and clean and free of grit. If you can't get them to line up the valve pipe has to be extended.
You might try putting pieces of plastic milk jug under all four legs and have someone rock the radiator as you tighten up the union. That should allow the radiator to move into alignment.
@ January 28, 2014 6:37 PM in Help ID cause for leaky radiator valve!and clean the faces of the union and make sure everything lines up before trying to put it back together make sure the system is off first. I suspect you have it misaligned and that's why you can't get it to seal.
@ January 28, 2014 6:32 PM in Please help with banging steam pipes!about the same as neighboes burning the same fuel? If it is your probably ok. If you do the overfilling test, do it hen the boiler is on;y warm (not steaming hot). Let it sit for several hours and check for any signs of a leak, then drain it down to the normal level and make some steam to drive off ant oxygen in the water.
@ January 28, 2014 9:11 AM in STEAM BOILER ADDS WATEREither that water is leaking out or it's not coming back after being turned into steam.
Do you have any return pipes buried in concrete? It would take a pretty major steam leak to cause a boiler to add water once or twice a steaming cycle. When the boiler is making steam, step outside and look at your chimney, do you see a large plume of white coming out of it? If that plume is larger than your neighbors you may have a leak from the boiler into the firebox and the leaking water is being turned into steam.
One way to detect this is to overfill the boiler well above the sight glass and let the boiler sit for a few hours, This should be done when the boiler is cold or just warm and can remain off for several hours. if there is a leak the water level will fall on it's own and you will see water around the boiler or inside the firebox. When your done drain the boiler down to it's normal level and fire it up to make steam, this is to drive off any oxygen in the new water.
The other possibility is that the boiler return is clogged up and not letting the condensed steam come back. This usually shows up as the boiler becoming overfilled a few hours after a heating cycle.
@ January 27, 2014 6:36 PM in cracked boiler due to pipe leakMatching the EDR to the boilers sq ft of steam usually works.
A boilers sq ft of steam rating includes a 33% pickup factor, in some situations you might need 50% pickup if there is absolutely no pipe insulation. Given the price of fuel it seems foolish not to insulate all the piping in the basement.
You also have to consider is a lot of these systems were calculated so they could heat the bedrooms with the windows cracked open for fresh air. If you have good windows, insulation in the attic and walls you will likely not need the radiators to heat up completely unless it is extremely cold out.
@ January 27, 2014 2:30 PM in new home owner from philadelphiathat hasn't happened so far. Steam systems are rugged and the question is how much harm has been done in the years since that was installed. Anything from now till next week is inconsequential.
Let it do it's best to warm the place up.
@ January 26, 2014 9:19 PM in Reconnecting radiator - 1in stretchIf it really is a 20 ft run and the framing is 2X8 there could be some play if the original pipe fitter didn't get sloppy. It all depends on what the new floor height is compared with t he old.
@ January 26, 2014 8:22 PM in Reconnecting radiator - 1in stretch20 feet of 1-1/4 pipe is not that heavy, I suspect the new tile is binding on the pipe when you try to lift it. The installer may have to grind a a bit of the tile back to allow free movement.
@ January 26, 2014 12:15 PM in Reconnecting radiator - 1in stretchis the pipe between the valve and the pipe under the floor is too short and has to be extended. Whoever put in that floor should fix this for you, it is his responsibility to put things right.
@ January 26, 2014 12:12 PM in Varivalve issues!is the boiler running out of water? unless the radiators are squirting quarts of water on the floor you have a leak that has to be found and fixed. Adding significant amounts of water will kill a boiler and that makes the cost of fixing a leak pale in comparison.