Joined on September 15, 2010
Last Post on December 9, 2013
@ November 14, 2013 8:29 PM in Wheres the water going?I know you can replace sections on the boiler but it's a lot of work and costs a lot to have someone do it for you, also if one section goes another might be ready to go very soon.
How old is the boiler?
It could be the kind of leak that doesn't show up till the boiler gets good and hot and under a little pressure. Spend a little time with it and watch it while it's making steam.
@ November 14, 2013 10:27 AM in Main Vent Replacement FrequencyA good main vent should last many years, if yours are plugging up with dsdiment you have a water quality issue. Sometimes you can clean out the sediment by boiling the vent in white vinegar for 10-15 minutes or just soaking it in some CLR.
@ November 14, 2013 8:10 AM in Steam help please.. need some sleep!The main setting of the pressuretrol should be 2 psI max and the diferential should be 1 psi, usually both are set as low as they can go.
Steam boilers are rated in BTU's and sq ft of steam. For optimum operation the boilers sq ft of steam should match the EDR (sq ft of radiation) of your radiators. If you tell us the model number of your boiler (In-?) and describe each of your radiators we can tell you how close you are.
List each radiators height, width, depth in inches; and the number of columns deep it is and how many columns wide it is.Also tell us what kind of vent each radiator has on it.
The short cycling you are experiencing can also be cause by inadequate main venting so give us an idea of how long your steam mains re and what size the pipe is (you can just measure the pipe circumference).
If you do have a secnd return pipe tied above the water line that can cause all kinds of problems with the water level which might trip the low water cut off. Does your gauge glass water line bounce around a lot while making steam? Also have you checked in you manual to see where your skim port should be?
@ November 13, 2013 7:24 PM in Wheres the water going?Yu may have a hole or crack at the waterline of the boiler and it is letting water leak into the fire chamber. You can verify it by overfilling the boiler by 4 or five inches and waiting to see where the water comes out.This should be done when the boiler is switched off and not hot. You may have to pull off a side panel to find the actual hole or crack.
If it is in the boiler itself and not a pipe that goes into the boiler it's toast. There is no reliable way to patch it that will last.
I hope I'm wrong,
@ November 13, 2013 5:10 PM in Steam help please.. need some sleep!That might be a tie in for the vent but I can't see the top of the pipe to be sure.
It looks like you have a Gorton #1 there and that is good for a 2" main 12 - 15 ft or so long.
@ November 13, 2013 3:06 PM in Steam help please.. need some sleep!My computer just came back and one of the things that changed was my nice simple photo enhancer. Now that i figured out how to use the new "improved" version your absolutely right.
She did say the old boiler worked fine so even though that is not good I don't think it's the main cause of this problem with the squirting vents but i could always be wrong.
@ November 13, 2013 2:14 PM in Steam help please.. need some sleep!The near boiler piping looks pretty good but the water in the sight glass is gross, I don't see a skim port on the boiler so i assume the installer did not bother to skim the boiler after installing it. New boilers REQUIRE skimming to remove the oils from the water. On a new boiler the water should be clear, mine is about a year old and it is nice and clear, I required a skim port when the boiler was installed and I used it several times after the boiler was installed.
If you look in your install manual Burnham specifies the location of the skim port, have your new plumber install a full size pipe and a full port ball valve there so the boiler can be skimmed to get rid of all the oils in the boiler. It takes hours to do a good skimming and you often have to do it several times.
After you get most of the oil out you will want to drain the boiler, fill it and drain it again to get rid of all the rust in the water - THIS SHOULD BE DONE WHEN THE BOILER IS COLD OR JUST WARM. When it's filled the last time bring the boiler up to steam to drive off all the oxygen fresh water will introduce to the boiler
Tell us how many radiators you have, list their sizes and what kind if air vent each one has. Heat Timer varivalves can be very problematic on most radiators, if you have them they should be turned down fairly low because they tend to spray water if they are up too high. You may want to replace them with Gortons or Maid O Mist vents but lets get the boiler water clean first. If the pressure is low a good vent makes almost no noise unless you are right next to it.
You have a large pipe that runs around the basement near the ceiling with smaller pipes that come of it feeding each radiator; you may have more than one steam main so tell about how long each one is and how many inches around it is, then we can tell you if you need more main venting or what you have is enough.
Steam cannot fill a pipe or a radiator until all the air is out, there should be a vent device on each main that can be green, copper, or silver - take a picture of any you find. A Gorton # 1 is about 2-1/2" in diameter while a Gorton #2 is over twice as big. Most systems have a lot of air in the boiler header and the steam main, if you depend on the radiator vents to get rid of all that air it's going to take some time and it will cost you fuel and probably make the system heat unevenly.
@ November 13, 2013 9:20 AM in Steam help please.. need some sleep!It sounds like something was not done right when the new boiler was installed. Modern steam boilers are very fussy when it comes to the near boiler piping. If you look at the piping diagram in the installation manual does your piping look anything like that picture?
Does the water in your sight glass move around a lot while it's making steam? If it does it probably needs to be skimmed to remove any oil that is mixed with the water. New boilers and pipes are usually coated with oil to prevent rust but the oil mixes with the water and makes the waterline very unstable and results in wet steam
Please post pictures of the boiler and the pipes around it so we can see how it is configured.
@ November 13, 2013 7:35 AM in I GIVE UP! HelpDid the installer of that boiler look at the manual? The manufacturer is very specific about near boiler piping and what you have is just wrong and will do nothing but produce wet steam and high fuel bills. That boiler piping is going to make it very difficult to get good steam distribution.
Look at the steam boiler piping diagram in the manual and compare it to what you have, if you don't have one tell us the boiler model and we will find you a manual on the internet.
@ November 12, 2013 9:53 PM in Need help balancing my system!I would try Gorton #4 or on the downstairs radiators the tstat is sensing and a D on the upstairs radiators.
If that gets the upstairs radiators hot then you can figure out what sizes work best and then look at venting the risers fast and the upstairs radiators slower. I remember a post from a few years back where someone tapped the bonnet of a radiator valve so they could mount a vent on it, that might be easier tan adding a nipple and tapping it.
@ November 12, 2013 12:01 PM in How to clean a steam systemNow that it's clean you might want to consider adding a Steam Master tablet to the boiler water. I started using on my new boiler last year after skimming it and the water is just as clean a year later as it was then.
@ November 12, 2013 11:57 AM in Rain in the Sight GlassYou will have to keep skimming to get rid of that oil, cleaning the system out with a wand would get the crud out of the boiler but can't get to the piping if thats where the oil is coming from. Some boiler makers advise using washing soda in the boiler to clean things out.
@ November 11, 2013 1:20 PM in Can Anyone ID This Boiler?I don't know what kind of boiler you have but that does look like vent tapping. i assume that vertical pipe is going to the wet return of the boiler, When mounting a vent try to get it up as high as practical and you can run a pipe horizontally back along the pipe to keep the vent away from any water slugs and also to avoid floor joists. Just make sure any horizontal pipe has slope so any water finds it's way back to the boiler.
You can select what size vent you need by calculating the volume of your steam main, you would like it to vent out all the air in a minute or two.
@ November 11, 2013 1:04 PM in adding a gauge to pressuretrolIt takes about 5 minutes, just disconnect two wires, unscrew the ptrol and put the vstat in its place. Make sure you have contacts that break on pressure rise, mine can do either because it has both make and break options on it.
@ November 11, 2013 10:48 AM in adding a gauge to pressuretrolThis worked for me but you might want to extend the gauge up a bit higher (mine has been like that for 3 years with no issues) .
@ November 11, 2013 10:42 AM in Looking for confirmation on main vent sizing (check my math)Use 2ea Gorton #1's on the long main (0.66cfm total) and one Gorton #1 and 1 Ventrite 35 (0.44CFM Total) on the shorter main.
@ November 11, 2013 7:37 AM in Pipes leaking at shutoff connectors (All of them)goes from -1 to 2 BAR OR -30 to 30 PSI, make sure your reading the right scale.
Pressure gauges are pretty inaccurate at very low pressures so don't trust your readings at the low end of it's range.
@ November 11, 2013 7:29 AM in Not getting any heat in risersor was it problematic last season as well? What pressure is your boiler running at? Steam systems run best at low pressure, it should not be more than 2PSI in most cases.
If it's new then something has changed, if a horizontal pipe somewhere developed a sag it could be pooling water collapsing steam as it travels along. The steam might eventually get to this branch during very long steaming cycles in deep winter cold, but at milder times it doesn't get there before the boiler shuts down.
If this branch has always been slow to heat it could be a matter of balance between this branch and the other branches. Is all the piping in the basement insulated? You could try a D vent which is twice as fast as the #6 vent and see how that works out. What kinds of vents do all the other radiators and risers have on them?
@ November 10, 2013 8:15 AM in Only 1/2 of my house seems to get any heat - help?Do your radiators have one pipe feeding them with an air vent on the other end or is there a pipe on each end? The piping looks like it might be a 2 pipe system.
One picture shows a pressure of 4 PSI, that is to high especially if it's a 2 pipe system. You have 2 pressuretrols and I assume one is a safety and the other is the actual pressure control. Please take a closer shot of the two pressuretrols and take a side shot of the boiler header so we can see if that is piped correctly..
It looks like the left one is the high pressure safety and the left is the actual pressure control because the tab on the front dial is pretty much all the way down (but I might be misreading things because the picture isn't clear). Take the front cover off with the screw on the front and make sure the white dial inside is set to one. Steam systems like low pressure and two pipe systems usually require low pressure to work. The pressure should not be more than 2 PSI and preferably less.
Main vents sit at the ends of the mains or just before the return pipe turns down towards the floor but you might have return traps if it's a two pipe system. The vents can be silver colored bullets or look like a catfood can on edge depending on what kind.
Does the water in the sight glass bounce up and down a lot when making steam? If it does it means the boiler water may have oils in it and has to be skimmed, do you know if you have a skim port?
@ November 9, 2013 8:39 PM in Only 1/2 of my house seems to get any heat - help?If you turn the valves full counterclock wise it will be open.
Did the old boiler heat ok?
If this is single pipe steam, did they replace all the radiator vents when the new boiler was installed?
Did they replace the vents on the steam main(s)?
Is there any banging in the pipes?
Can you post pictures of the boiler and the piping around it?
@ November 9, 2013 6:19 PM in Cold room - anything I can do?You need to look at all the vents on your radiators because the key might be in delaying the steam into the radiators closer to the boiler so steam favors the distant one, you want that radiator to heat for a longer period of time so it warms up the room. That might bring the system into balance but insulating the piping in the basement will help all of this as will making sure your main vents are large enough.
@ November 9, 2013 6:05 PM in Gas companies in CT make big push into oil territoryWe are going back to era before the government broke up the big corporations in the late 19th and early 20th century. Capitolism works when it is controlled, when it is uncontrolled the gap between the haves and have nots grows until it's unbridgeable. Then those in power tell the peasants to eat cake and we all know how that worked out.
We are in a situation not unlike the industrial revolution when many jobs were destroyed by machines which could do the work of many men. Now most of our manufacturing has been moved offshore and people who once had good jobs paying a living wage are working for 30% of what they once earned IF they can even find those jobs. The credit crunch of 2008 was fueled by people living on credit trying to keep up a lifestyle they could no longer afford. Those controlling things will not be happy till they have everything but they will just bring the whole miserable mess down on their heads and then there will be plenty of misry to go around if that happens.
If supply and demand really worked we would see heating oil declining in price because of much reduced demand but they trump up one excuse after another to keep the price up. In 1970 heating oil was $0.139 per gallon and gasoline was $0.349 or so, Now gas is $3.20 a gallon while heating oil is $3.45 a gallon, gas has road taxes on it while heating oil has oil company greed on it. Congress is subsidizing detroit over people who have to heat their homes with oil because they don't have natural gas available to them and that might have something to do with the oil lobbyists on K street that keep election coffers brimfull..