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Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on August 1, 2014

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That's what I thought

@ August 1, 2014 11:28 PM in Webster - Two pipe vapor with return trap: New Boiler

a ceiling-level header. Don't seem to see them too often, but the ones I have seen were all on Vapor systems.

These ceiling-level headers will work fine if properly piped. I've attached a couple pics of one we re-used, on a hybrid Dunham/Hoffman Vapor system. The existing header was 4-inch and the Weil-McLain 4-80 calls for a 4-inch header, so we just piped into one end, took the equalizer off the other end and plugged the remaining riser tapping that was in the middle of the header.

The 80 series boilers can be fired with either oil or gas. A 4-80 is good for 1238 square feet EDR. If you have more than that, you'd go with the 5-80 at 1608 square feet. The 5-80 can use the same single 4-inch riser to the header, so if that header is 4-inch, it can be re-used.

Leave the Return Trap piping as it is, unless the Return Trap is no longer working. Use a Vaporstat to control the boiler pressure. And I'd suggest using probe-type low-water cutoffs, as we did on this job.

Looks like there are two headers on that boiler

@ August 1, 2014 11:01 PM in Webster - Two pipe vapor with return trap: New Boiler

the lower one is completely wrong. Can you get a picture of the upper one, to show how the steam mains tie into it? 

Sure about that model number?

@ July 31, 2014 4:35 PM in Cast Iron chambers needed

This would have been an A-3 series set up for pressure-firing, but the way the model numbers worked on this series, you're describing a 13-section boiler. Do you know how many sections it has?

The answer is simple

@ July 31, 2014 11:50 AM in Another Steam Boiler Sizing Concern

At the moment, I have both charts for the Columbia. For the Intrepid I only have the one chart. Slant/Fin did change their Intrepid chart recently but their rated efficiencies went UP with the change, rather than down as with the Columbia. Bottom line is, we always work from the chart with the best efficiency.

In many cases the incoming gas service and meter are fine, especially on smaller jobs, but we have to check out each one to be sure. If upgrades are needed that's the utility's problem, and around here they take their sweet time getting to them. If this turns out to be an issue, you can always install a new boiler with the oil burner first, and change it over to gas when the service upgrade is done.

We choose our boilers based on how close they are to the load, how well they will fit the available space and how well they are supported.


@ July 30, 2014 9:17 PM in One or two pipe steam?

doesn't look like anything but a standard return elbow. There are orifices in the radiator shutoff valves, so the steam will not reach the return lines unless the pressure gets too high.

This system needs a Vaporstat to control the boiler pressure, not the usual Pressuretrol. The latter cannot limit the pressure to less than 1 pound.

If you can find a radiator valve that someone hasn't slathered paint all over, see if you can see a name on it. Also take a picture of the boiler and surrounding area.

That's probably "Orifice Vapor"

@ July 30, 2014 3:16 PM in One or two pipe steam?

unless there's something inside those radiator return ells. Post some pics of some rads so we can have a look.


@ July 29, 2014 11:21 PM in Downsizing used 4-sec Megastem to 3-section

the MegaSteam 289 and 396 use the same block, with a different burner set-up. 

Assuming those numbers are accurate

@ July 29, 2014 3:50 PM in I can not get my head around the over sizing of boilers

even the smallest Buderus would be oversized. It has a Net rating of 74,000 BTU per hour:

I found two better choices. These are 3-pass boilers like the Buderus:

Burnham MPO-IQ84, with a Net rating of 69,000 BTUH:

Slant/Fin Eutectic EC-13P, also with a 69,000 BTUH net rating:

You can't go wrong with either unit. Note that you don't need extra boiler capacity to operate the indirect water heater tank.

Oh, and don't even think about using the Beckett burner from the old RS-111 boiler in a new boiler. The Beckett AF burner that is specified for the RS-111 is not capable of moving air thru a 3-pass boiler. If the new boiler comes with a Beckett, it will be an AFG or NX which is matched to the new boiler. Don't try to save a few bucks this way- it will cause no end of trouble.

At least in the Columbia versions

@ July 28, 2014 11:45 PM in Another Steam Boiler Sizing Concern

they are available with Carlin EZ-Gas burners. We get them that way from the local Columbia supply house. The Columbia we installed in that thread I linked to arrived on the delivery truck with the gas burner. Not sure what else I can say to further underline the point.

Looks like some of these web sites need to be updated.

I'm not sure why these boilers have been re-rated so much. Perhaps they became too expensive per square foot of radiation capacity for some people if you had to buy them with one more section. But we're all about efficiency so we always use the lower capacity for a given size boiler.

The Columbia brochure showing the most efficient ratings is here:

Currently, to get this configuration, we have to order the current designation (CSFE-4125S in your case) and then reset it to the lower firing rate (1 GPH or 140,000 BTU per hour in your case). The difference in stack temperature is quite noticeable.

You might also look at

@ July 28, 2014 1:16 AM in Another Steam Boiler Sizing Concern

a Utica SFE-4xxx boiler. This one has been offered in various firing rates from 1 GPH/140,000 BTUH input, to 1.5 GPH/210,000 BTUH input. Columbia sells the same boiler as the CSFE-4xxx. The current offering is at 1.25 GPH/175,000 BTUH input, which has a minimal AFUE rating- 82%. But when it was offered at 1 GPH, its AFUE was 85%, and this is how we still sell them.

At 1 GPH, this boiler was rated 377 square feet EDR. That would be a much closer match for your system.

Here's one of our Columbia installs along with a couple Intrepids. All have Carlin EZ-Gas burners. Note that the Columbia that got replaced with an Intrepid was being run at its maximum firing rate, which worked the cast-iron heat transfer surface much harder. That and a leaky return that we replaced some years ago is what killed it.


@ July 27, 2014 8:50 PM in HVAC options for 400 square foot addition

no heat pump or forced-air unit can ever equal the comfort or efficiency of hot-water or steam. That's reason enough for most of us. 


@ July 27, 2014 8:40 PM in Another Steam Boiler Sizing Concern

That electricity cost sounds right. I haven't put a meter on an atmospheric gas train, but it would cost something to run that too. What you'd end up paying is the difference between the two.

As far as down-firing, as long as you don't get the stack temperature too low or otherwise cause poor combustion, you should be OK. Whoever does the work MUST test with a digital combustion analyzer to be sure of this.

On the Carlin EZ-Gas

@ July 27, 2014 4:39 PM in Another Steam Boiler Sizing Concern

they use a 1/12 HP PSC motor, so it doesn't take much electricity to run. You can get away with the smaller motor because it isn't driving an oil pump, just the fan. I believe the Midco EC series and the Riello gas burners also use PSC motors. Not sure about Wayne.

Note that on the EZ-Gas, according to the factory rep a standard Carlin 1/7 HP PSC oil burner motor can be used to replace the original one. This would, of course, use a bit more electricity.

That P-SGO-3

@ July 27, 2014 4:00 PM in Burner Conversion Question - Weil-McLain P-SG0-3

does have a small firing zone, but it should run well with a Carlin EZ-Gas burner having a 9-slot diffuser plate. The 9-slot diffuser produces a compact flame much like a flame-retention oil burner does, and should fit that firing zone quite well. We use the same combination on 3- or 4-section Slant/Fin Intrepid and Liberty boilers, which also have short firing zones.

The 9-slot diffuser came out some time after the burner was introduced with its original A and B diffusers, so it may not appear in earlier setup guides. The A and B diffusers tend to create longer flames, which work well in some boilers but not in others.

Now that's some nice work

@ July 25, 2014 10:43 PM in new home owner from philadelphia

but we shouldn't be surprised, should we?

JStar, what turn-down are you using on that 2-stage valve?

I think

@ July 24, 2014 9:04 PM in What did it cost in 1960?

the Summit Inn had an oil-fired boiler for a while. Did you ever work on that? 

I'm assuming you're staying with oil

@ July 23, 2014 11:12 PM in Homeowner

Burnham's V8 series has been problematic, but their MegaSteam is the best residential steamer out there. I'd go with the MegaSteam over the Peerless.

That boiler started leaking

@ July 23, 2014 11:07 PM in Webster - Two pipe vapor with return trap: New Boiler

because it was taking in too much feed water. Some Webster systems I've seen have underground return lines. If yours does, they're probably leaking.

Where in PA are you located?

I think Clammy's right

@ July 22, 2014 11:23 AM in Just wondering about oil tanks

the oblong shape appears to have been chosen so you could get it thru basement doors, and the length and height so you could get it around corners. The resulting capacity worked out to 275 gallons or, if you could get away with a longer tank (72 rather than 60 inches) 330. 

The gas mains in this area

@ July 20, 2014 4:11 PM in Lovely Lane Methodist Church- A Steam Heating Museum

are still the old low-pressure variety, and probably date back at least to when the first part of the church was built. The original and second parts of the church did have gas lighting. No one ever expected using anything but coal for heating.

The city doesn't own the gas mains- BGE does, and they have done little if any upgrading since the deregulation scam went through. It would probably take a couple billions to replace all the old cast-iron low-pressure piping in Baltimore, which would take away from the CEOs', CFOs' and other bigwigs' paychecks and stock options.

You'd spend a lot less money

@ July 19, 2014 8:35 PM in Advice needed on heating system install

by fixing the steam. What exactly is wrong with it now, besides being oil-fired? 

What model boiler

@ July 19, 2014 8:33 PM in What about constant circulation and outdoor reset for an old high mass system

is in there now?
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