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Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on August 22, 2014

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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?

Boiler Room

@ July 19, 2014 8:27 PM in Lovely Lane Methodist Church- A Steam Heating Museum

showing the pair of Smith 19HE-6 boilers with PowerFlame oil burners. There is not enough gas in the street to run these on gas- they're stuck with oil for the foreseeable future.

So far, we've lowered the pump controllers (they were mounted too high, a common problem) fixed some screwed up pump relays, hooked up the zone valve end switches so they can start and stop the burners (boilers had been maintaining 5 PSI all the time, another common problem) and replaced the ballcock in the boiler-feed tank. There's more to do- we'll be back!

The Chapel

@ July 19, 2014 8:20 PM in Lovely Lane Methodist Church- A Steam Heating Museum

was the original sanctuary. The rooms opening off the chapel were probably the original Sunday school rooms. Here we see the same type of rads as in the museum below- these have had TRVs added, as well as Webster 522 traps.

The last pic shows how the Dead Men ventilated the restroom. That capped pipe in the duct fed gas to a small burner, which when lit created a draft to ventilate the room. This was standard procedure in the days before small electric motors became available to operate fans.

The newest section

@ July 19, 2014 8:13 PM in Lovely Lane Methodist Church- A Steam Heating Museum

covers the church hall, Sunday school rooms and gym. It's pretty much standard Webster Vapor with large-tube radiators, as seen here in the hall. 

Indirect Stacks & Main Sanctuary

@ July 19, 2014 8:10 PM in Lovely Lane Methodist Church- A Steam Heating Museum

I got out my regular camera for these pics- the cell phone would not have worked so well. Even so, some were underexposed.

This is one of about a dozen stacks of indirect radiation that heat the main sanctuary. Each has from four to eight elements which can be shut off individually. We think they were mounted high enough to provide a decent "A" dimension from the original boiler's waterline. This one still has one of the Webster F&T traps that were installed in the 1930s, changing it from 2-pipe air-vent to something resembling Vapor.

The second pic is in the sanctuary. It has theater-style seats, and you can see the outlets where the heat comes up under the seats.

The third pic is one of the pipe radiators in this section. It's different from the ones in the oldest part of the building, but we still can't find a name on it.

The last pic is the only column-type rad we found so far, in a sitting room. It's a 3-column American Rococo.

The Dead Men

@ July 16, 2014 11:54 PM in Steam Change-Out

who installed this system, are cheering!

Do you know whose equipment was installed originally (Dunham, Webster, etc.)

August looks pretty busy but we might be able to get together some Saturday.....
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