Joined on March 11, 2004
Last Post on May 22, 2013
@ May 22, 2013 10:30 AM in whatever happened to the development of a steam assoc.?I'm assuming the houses were about the same sizes, insulation, windows etc... just making sure. Is that another heating industry board that we don't know about?
@ May 22, 2013 10:03 AM in weil-mcclain steamerNot a W-M, but you get the idea:
Replace that header. I'm surprised the old boiler lasted that long with a welded yoke like that.
@ May 22, 2013 12:02 AM in Inspections needed on condensing boilers!but we'll probably see a lot more of these, especially in areas where the gas company has proclaimed for decades or generations that gas equipment doesn't need regular service!
@ May 21, 2013 12:13 AM in Order of Catagories on the Wallwe can see what the most active topic is- the Main Wall (which includes a lot of the previous Wall version before there were separate categories) and Steam.
@ May 20, 2013 9:47 AM in One or Two pipe? Nice Radiatorit's a cast-iron sectional boiler. A snowman would have been round, would not have had a jacket and the asbestos would have been applied as a covering. But there is probably asbestos inside the jacket on that one.
I've attached a pic of a snowman we replaced some time ago. You can see why we call it a snowman. It's also known as a pancake boiler, since the sections that sit on top of the firebox are shaped like pancakes.
The snowman is also one of the least efficient types of boilers ever made. One of my Dead Men's Books says these boilers are typically no better than 40% efficient on oil, and I would assume they do as badly on gas. The reason is the lack of heat-transfer surface and the rather short path of the flue gases thru the boiler. This results in some outrageous stack temperatures.
The boiler in the pic would do much better than a snowman, especially if there were proper baffles in the flue passages, but it's no match for a modern steam boiler. When you replace the boiler, you can probably use at least some of the existing header for the new one- whoever built that header looks like they knew their stuff.
The Moline equipment, if it's still there, is probably up in the ceiling. I hope you can get back there and take more pics! There is no need for a condensate tank and pump on this system- keeping the pressure low is all that's needed. The new boiler should have a Vaporstat that cannot be set higher than a pound. A Pressuretrol is wrong for this system.
@ May 20, 2013 9:25 AM in The good old days and a Boiler Explosionwith the sight glass on it, looks like some sort of compressor- possibly for the soda fountain?
@ May 19, 2013 10:56 PM in Congrats,Alan Mercurioour industry wouldn't be the same without you.
@ May 19, 2013 10:48 PM in mad dogis/was Triple Crown Plumbing & Heating in Floral Park, NY- google that and you'll find his number.
@ May 19, 2013 10:38 PM in weil-mcclain steamerand if someone tells you they can't install 3-inch threaded pipe, find someone else. We do it all the time and it's not rocket science.
What model W-M is this? What's going to replace it?
@ May 19, 2013 10:22 PM in One or Two pipe? Nice Radiatorthe key-operated valve on the return connection is a very common Moline feature.
The Moline is a Vapor system designed to run on ounces of pressure, or sometimes in vacuum. The company that made it was based in Moline, IL, and it's unusual to find one this far east. Dave Bunnell, "The Steam Whisperer" is our resident Moline expert and I hope he will chime in here.
Assuming this is a Moline, the lack of an air vent on the radiator is not an issue. These rads are not supposed to have vents. Along with the condensate, the air is vented out the return connection and thru the "dry" (overhead) returns to a central point in the basement. At that point, there should be a long pipe or a ceiling-hung rad used as a condenser. After that, a vacuum valve let air out but not in, so as the coal pile burned down, the system would go into vacuum and continue generating steam at lower temperatures. The water was returned to the boiler at this point, by gravity.
The question of whether to convert something like this to hot-water is like the zombie that refuses to die. The answer is, only if you love living dangerously. This system was designed to run on ounces of pressure, but hot-water in the same building will easily exceed ten times that pressure. If there are any weak places in the piping or radiators, they WILL leak, and the lawyers will hold you responsible for fixing the damage.
Then there is the issue of whether the rads will produce enough heat on hot-water. Assuming they will, you will have to run them at such high temperatures that a condensing boiler will be out of its condensing range for much of the time. There goes the promised fuel savings.
It's much more economical and much less risky to fix whatever might be wrong with the steam, and put in a new, more-efficient boiler. This will put you very close to the efficiency of hot-water, for much less money, effort and risk.
This system has probably worked for close to a hundred years, and with proper care will outlast all of us. Take some more pics and let's have a real good look at it.
@ May 17, 2013 6:41 PM in Plumbing Forum?like that has a pressure-balance. Can you send me Mr. Salacki's info- I want to get the info on mine, which is a Sentinel rather than a Mixometer.
@ May 17, 2013 6:33 PM in Lofgren case settles...especially now that there won't be a criminal trial, like there should have been. Someone should have been hanged for this.
@ May 16, 2013 9:11 PM in Ideal Gas Boiler (American Radiator Company) conversionget in touch with us. We've been known to do out-of-town consulting.
In a place like Helena, where winter temperatures routinely go into single digits, steam is much more attractive than hot-water. All the radiators and most of the pipes drain dry when the system shuts down, so in an extended power or fuel failure you will run much less risk of freezing damage to the system.
And post some pics of the boiler and the system.
@ May 16, 2013 8:20 PM in Burnham has a sense of humor!also one might say it can be done, but at what cost?
When we tell the customer the only way to vent a mod-con is to go thru the chimney, which then means they will also have to replace the water heater with something else, they shake their heads. With cast-iron they only have to re-line the chimney.
@ May 16, 2013 2:16 PM in Plumbing Forum?though not that old- it has two pistons with washers on the end, one each for hot and cold. On that one, the pressure-balance piston is piped in after the washers.
It's possible that yours has a pressure-balance that comes before the washers. If so, that might be the cause. ISTR this was an issue with some Moen units.
@ May 16, 2013 2:02 PM in Burnham has a sense of humor!"Additionally, depending upon the home, it may be impractical to vent a boiler directly to outside air without using a chimney."
Can't count how many times I see PVC sticking out of a building one foot above grade. They're gonna have problems if we get more snow than that.
Or the same thing too close to a window or in an inside corner.
Some people will throw them in any old way, no regard for safety at all. This is the stuff lawyers dream of.
@ May 15, 2013 4:07 PM in Sizing main ventsand tell us their length and diameter. We can tell you what you need.
@ May 14, 2013 10:16 PM in This Week's Steamer Replacementthat's the dry return, where it drops into the main return manifold. On the Broomell, as on almost all Vapor systems, air from the radiators is routed to the dry return and vented at a central location. That Gorton is the central vent.
@ May 14, 2013 9:03 PM in Hey all, looking for old cast iron feet supportshttp://www.ocsind.com/
@ May 14, 2013 2:27 PM in Strange near boiler piping here......you definitely have a situation where steam can short-circuit thru those drips and into the various dry returns. The explanation is that the original boiler had a much higher waterline, which kept the tees and wyes under water so the steam couldn't get past.
You'll have to repipe all of them below the waterline, after first properly removing the asbestos.
While I am a fan of conversion burners, I wouldn't have used that old-school Economite in that type of boiler. It's not a flame-retention burner so you're probably getting a lot of impingement. Have you done a combustion test? I bet the CO levels are rather high.
@ May 14, 2013 1:11 PM in Plumbing Forum?but since you asked how one would check, I gave it my best shot ;-)
Personally I've never felt a need for such a section here. I participate in another board which is professionals-only and that one seems to be doing quite well. But there seems to be some interest in it now, as well as some newer members who might not have been around the last time, so maybe this thread will get the pros and cons out where we can all look at them.