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Joined on September 15, 2010

Last Post on April 16, 2014

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It depends

@ February 11, 2014 2:01 PM in How do I calculate main vent sizing?

The Ventrite 75 can thread onto a 1/2" male thread or a 3/4" male thread because it has threads inside and outside. A Gorton #2 has a 1/2" male thread so will need either a 1/2" coupler or more likely a 1/2 to 3/4 reducer.

The Gorton #2 is a physically large vent, make sure you have room for it. You will need 7 to 8" on top of whatever kind of an adaptor you need.


Main vents

@ February 11, 2014 1:33 PM in How do I calculate main vent sizing?

You need to figure out the volume of air in the steam mains, you do not have to include the return pipes in that calculation.

It looks like you have about 1,600 cu inches in Main #1 and that works out to 0.925cu ft; main #2 has 1750 cu inches which is about 1 cu ft. The Gorton #2 is rated for 1.1 CFM so it should work for both mains. BTW the Gorton #2 vents at almost twice the rate of a Ventrite 75.



@ February 11, 2014 7:39 AM in Oil lines frozen help

the ones caring a rifle with a flask in their hip pocket!


Shallow setback is best.

@ February 10, 2014 8:21 PM in Temperature Settings

High mass systems do not like deep setbacks, it's unlikely you will save money because of all the energy it takes getting everything back up to temperature. Reducing air infiltration and adding insulation are the avenues to pursue.

If you can recover in steps it might help but I don't think anything over a few degrees will really work well unless you are going to set the temperature back for several days.


slow might help

@ February 10, 2014 7:59 PM in Story of Chief Big Boiler and Cousin Little Pipe

I'd try the slow vents on the clankers, I think the maid o mist #6 is rated for 0.02CFM and you could probably slow it further by partially blocking the hole with a strand of wire. That might mean they don't heat like they should but maybe it will quiet them.

 Next I would stop using a setback and just crack a window in the room you want to stay cool at night. I don't think your saving enough money to matter unless the temperature is turned down for days.



@ February 9, 2014 12:09 PM in Bleeping blinking lights - what do they all mean??

It sounds like the automatic water feed needs some work and the LWCO probe should probably be cleaned as well. call someone in and have them service it and have them look for the leak as well

The more important issue is where is this water going? If you have to add water much more than once a month something is leaking, that leak has to be found and repaired if you want that boiler to have a long life.


Ignore the btu rating

@ February 9, 2014 9:40 AM in HELP Lodge has cracked boiler

Steam boilers are best sized by EDR, you match the boiler sq ft of steam rating to the radiator EDR (sq ft of radiation) in most cases.

You stated the radiators totaled up to 502,000 so am I correct in assuming you have about 2100 sq ft of radiation? If so you would start by looking at boilers that were rated for 2100 sq ft of steam, that number assumes a pickup factor of 30%. In some cases you might have to go a bit larger to account for a lack of mains insulation but with fuel costs these days I can't understand whay anybody would not insulate the steam mains and near boiler piping.

It might be better to think about using a modulating burner on a single boiler or better yet use two boilers that could be staged so you would not have to be firing at a high rate all the time. In either case you need to find a good steam pro so the design and installation is done correctly, saving a few dollars on the install almost always garrantees high ongoing fuel bills and poor performance.


Pressure and slope

@ February 9, 2014 7:34 AM in Is it futile to have dry steam with an oversized boiler?

My old Burnham V75 could produce 596 sq ft of steam and i only have 210 sq ft of radiation attatched. My heat was quick and quiet but I knew it was costing me fuel because it was so oversized.

First of all what pressure are you running at, it should be 2 PSI and hopefully a lot less. What kind of main vents are you using and are they large enough?

Go over all the mains and radiator run-outs with a level to make sure there is enough slope so any water can find it's way back to the boiler, make sure the radiators have a bit of slope towards the steam pipe as well. Be on the lookout for any dips in a pipe that might be pooling water. Water hammer is telling you that steam is coming across standing water, when that happens it collapses 1700:1 causing the hammer and perhaps damaging your vents.


Your fighting physics

@ February 8, 2014 6:03 PM in Balancing the Trane...

If you have 5 ft openings to that hall from the first floor you have a superhighway for all the heat and it's going to go upstairs just as fast as it can. Any chance of putting some doors back?

Are all the radiators heating at the same time? You could try throwing some blankets over the rads upstairs to see if that helps. How is the air infiltration and insulation in the house. I would hunt down and fix any and all infiltration on the first floor and see how that works out. Seal the basement ceiling so the boiler can't pull air from the first floor for combustion, that may mean you have to find a way to bring in outside air for boiler combustion air.


If the boiler is matched

@ February 8, 2014 4:02 PM in Low Pressure Steam Gauges

to the connected load it's possible for it to work at almost no pressure. If your sure the pigtail is clear so the pressuretrol and gauge can "see" the boiler pressure and the system is working good, you may have no use for a pressure device on that boiler.

If the above is true then the pressuretrol is just acting as a safety device, there is no need to calibrate anything. You could use a really low pressure gauge to see whats going on inside that boiler. As long as there is a pigtail between the boiler and the gauge, the gauge does not have to be rated for steam. On my boiler the input of the pigtail is blazing hot but the base of the gauge is just warm.


More info needed

@ February 8, 2014 10:50 AM in Crown boiler doesnt keep up with thermostat

Your boiler was feeding 7 radiators and now it's firing 8; unless those radiators are absolutely huge I can't believe your boiler is sized too small. Just to be sure measure each radiator and post the info here and we can approximate the EDR of the system. We will need to know the following for each radiator -

Height from the floor up to the top
Width of the radiator and the number of sections
Depth of the radiator and the number of columns per section
Type of air valve on each radiator
Number of pipes feeding the radiator.

It is possible the boiler is not firing at the rate it should be, somebody should clock the gas meter to be sure it's getting the right amount of gas. Also are there any signs of leaks in the piping, radiators, or boiler?

Beyond that your piping might need work, if it's not piped right it will never work right. Post some pictures of the boiler from different angles and the piping around it, also post a picture of a representative radiator (both ends).

My steam system is feeding 7 radiators and the boiler rating is half the size of yours (105,000 BTU and 287 sq ft of steam), my radiators total up to 210 sq ft of EDR and it heats the house just fine.

 With the above information we should be able to help you.


@ February 8, 2014 7:26 AM in Oil to Gas Conversion of HBSmith Boiler

You won't get the efficiency that can be had with some of the best wet based boilers but you'll save enough dough to pay for a new boiler in fuel savings. As long as the old girl is in good shape I would do it. You can use the EZ-Gas in a new boiler if the old girl passes on.

The cost of natural gas is just to low to ignore. Just be aware you will need a stalnless steel chimney liner and the old girl will have to be cleaned real well before the install and after one season of use.



@ February 7, 2014 7:06 PM in 2 pipe main vent

When you compose a messege you have the option of attaching a file, the pictures have to be jpg files.


Pressure is too high

@ February 7, 2014 5:55 PM in Crown boiler doesnt keep up with thermostat

In addition to all the other problems it looks like your pressure is too high, a steam system should operate at less than 2PSI. I can't tell exactly where you are set but it's too high. can you take a picture of the face of the pressuretrol so I can see where it's set?

You really have to have that boiler looked at by someone who knows and understands steam. Where do you live, perhaps one of the pro's is in your area.


Same noise with Smith G8-3

@ February 7, 2014 5:35 PM in Ideas on Quieting a Carlin EZ Gas Conversion Burner

I live in your general area (02171) and had a Smith G8-3 installed with a EZ Gas about 15 months ago. It works great but it does have the rumble.I've talked to Carlin about it and they don't see m to know how to cure this problem, it seems some installations have the problem and some don't. I did quiet it somewhat by reducing the firing rate (at Carlins suggestion) but the rumble is still there.

i suspect it has something to do with size of the combustion chamber and perhaps its relation to the length of the flue but that is just a guess. Your WGO3 and my G8-3 probably have similar sized combustion chambers, how high is your chimney?


waterlogged vents

@ February 7, 2014 5:02 PM in Why are vents on 2nd Floor getting water in them?

What kind of vents are these and what kind of main vents are you using?


thats a problem

@ February 7, 2014 1:42 PM in Should I switch...and a few other questions.

Getting the required safety's installed (if tapped ports are available) is not cheap and there is always the chance something could go wrong and the boiler would be toast. Maybe it's time to bite the bullet, gas is going to be cheaper than oil for a long time. Also running a steam boiler without safety's is asking for trouble, your insurance might just be null and void without them.

If you replace that boiler you could well save $4k a year in fuel and that will  pay for itself in just a few years. If you go with one of the boilers I told you about and it is properly installed it should last 20-30 years, what is 20X4k??

As i said before it has to be done right, the boiler has to be matched to the heating load and the piping has to be inspected to correct any deficiencies.


Do it

@ 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?


Is it out of level?

@ February 3, 2014 9:00 PM in Air vent leaking on 1-pipe steam radiator

It 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's

Do 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.


Whats the difference

@ February 3, 2014 6:17 PM in slow moving steam and trust issues

between 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.

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