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Steamhead

Steamhead

Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on July 31, 2014

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Staying home today

@ February 17, 2003 11:21 AM in Stormy business

no point in even trying to get out. Couldn't get my Ranger ten feet down my street if I did try. Mayor says residential areas won't be plowed till the snow stops- they're only keeping main streets open for now. But I did talk my brother-in-law thru restarting his Bryant sealed-combustion furnasty. Seems some snow got in thru the air intake- sound familiar, Dave? And thanks to whoever it was who posted about turning the thermostat down for five minutes to reset the electronic control unit. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Mike, why not check with W-M

@ February 17, 2003 10:43 AM in Derating Gas Boiler

for their take on it? Tell them what you have and how much it's oversized, and see what they have to say. Bill Wright frequents the Wall, his e-mail is bwright@weil-mclain.com . Ron already came up with the second part of my post, but it's worth repeating: TEST IT before and after. With a modern digital combustion analyzer you can see if the stack temp gets too low or the excess air or CO too high. But you knew that. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Just Measured 13 inches

@ February 17, 2003 10:23 AM in A little snow

off my front porch. We had 4 inches Saturday so that's a total of 17 inches in the past 3 days. 1996 and 1983 were worse, but this storm may come close to the records they set. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

That should be as easy

@ February 16, 2003 11:18 PM in baseboard/steam?

as falling off the proverbial log. But before you do, make sure you install the same type of device the original system uses (trap or inlet orifice) to keep the steam out of the dry return. If the Baseray's heat output is marginal for the room, consider using a small-tube radiator. These things pack a lot of heat in a small space. Burnham still makes them, and there are loads of used ones around. A TRV will work nicely in the kitchen also. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I knew

@ February 16, 2003 11:13 PM in A new record was set (ME)

you had checked, just wondering what you found. Still scary at those high levels. Did they just forget to tune the burner when they installed it- which is sooooo typical- or did something actually break down? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Lou, how much heat

@ February 16, 2003 11:07 PM in Wetheads- Need help

does the building need? And why doesn't it have electricity? This sounds like a fascinating project. We did a Give and Get on unreliable or nonexistent electricity and how it would affect a heating installation, if I remember correctly. I'll see if I can find it. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Next Step, Derrick

@ February 16, 2003 11:02 PM in Losing Steam Fast

go to the Find a Contractor page of this site to locate a steam man near you. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Where

@ February 16, 2003 6:39 PM in Funky air valve

did you find that? Did you take it off an old 3-in-1 Vapor/Vacuum/Pressure system? That's what it was designed for........ To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I ran into something similar

@ February 16, 2003 6:31 PM in Vibration in steam pipes

on a Marsh Vapor system. Seems the king valve (in the steam main just above the header, not used much in residential applications) was partly shut. When the steam got going it set up a harmonic vibration that rattled the LWCO, gauge, Vaporstat, and anything else it could find. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

They call it

@ February 16, 2003 2:46 PM in \"Snow Acuuumlations in Historic Proportions\"

"generating revenue". Still coming down hard here. I just talked to Rick and he says we probably won't open tomorrow, unless someone calls with an emergency. None of the trucks are 4X4! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

7 Inches in Baltimore so far

@ February 16, 2003 1:09 PM in \"Snow Acuuumlations in Historic Proportions\"

and still coming down hard! I'm taking it easy today. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Glad I could help

@ February 16, 2003 12:59 PM in Steam problems corrected :)

I'll bet you find a few more of those Trane Orifice convector systems out there- I did! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Those ports were for \"try cocks\"

@ February 16, 2003 12:24 PM in low water cutoff installation?

which were used to verify the sight glass reading in the old days. Once in a while I still see boilers that have these try-cocks. I've never heard of putting a probe-type LWCO in a lower try-cock port though. It would probably work, but before installing it I'd check with the boiler manufacturer (if still in business) and the control manufacturer, and also the local Code authority for their input. If the boiler is that old, I would prefer a float-type cutoff. These were originally designed for use with boilers of this vintage. Plus, I'd want someone visiting the boiler room every week anyway, and a weekly blow-down is a good way to make this happen. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

John, check the pigtail

@ February 16, 2003 12:11 PM in Pressure question

below the pressuretrol. If it's plugged, the pressuretrol will not stop the burner if the pressure gets too high. This could cause a dangerous over-pressure situation. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Nice going, Mark

@ February 16, 2003 12:07 PM in A new record was set (ME)

just curious- did those power venters discharge anywhere near a window? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Don't Give Up, Tim!

@ February 16, 2003 11:54 AM in Less confusion

I would never have learned as much as I have without you. Thanks to you (and all who have participated in the CO debate) I can do a much better job. I've had the opportunity to get out in the field with this knowledge, see what works and what doesn't. I completely disagree that you've been "passed by". Combustion is combustion and you've been working with it for decades. That's more than most of us can say. I have read your manuals, tried your methods and they WORK. What better recommendation? Sure, it's not the same as attending a seminar, but it's better than the seat-of-the-pants approach. To those of you who keep e-mailing Tim with questions: BUY HIS MANUALS. Tim has the same writer's gift that Dan Holohan has and you will not regret your purchases. And come to his seminars- I'm sure they're as good as his books. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

\"Venting Constantly\"

@ February 16, 2003 11:26 AM in Steam vent question

could mean several things. If the vent is too small, it could be still venting air after the boiler has run awhile. If steam is coming out of the vent, it is worn out and needs to be replaced. If water is coming out, the system is overfilled or the return line is plugged causing water to back up into the main. The system will bang also if overfilled or if the return is plugged. You should set the pressure switch ("Pressuretrol") as low as it will go. If it's the usual Honeywell PA404 (small gray box) turn the power off, remove the cover and rotate the small white wheel until the "1" points to the front of the control. Then turn the screw on the top until the scale pointer on the front is at 0.5 PSI. The burner will now stop at 1-1/2 PSI and restart at 1/2 PSI. This is correct for one-pipe steam. To see if the vent on the main is the right size, measure the length and diameter of the main, and the make and model of the vent on it. Post the information here. If there is more than one main, post the information for them all. Vents are made in different capacities, and must be sized to vent the air in the main in about a minute. This way, steam rises to all the radiators at the same time, saving fuel and increasing comfort. The sequence of operation is this: 1. Thermostat calls for heat, starting burner on boiler. 2. Boiler heats up until water boils. This usually takes about 5 minutes on a newer boiler, longer on older ones. 3. Steam moves from boiler into piping system. Main vents release the air in the steam mains. This step takes about a minute. 4. Main vents close when steam reaches them. Steam is now available at all radiator takeoffs, and begins to move toward the radiators. 5. Steam enters radiators at about the same time and warms the rooms. The gauge on the boiler usually does not move up to this point. 6. If the pressure in the system rises to 1-1/2 PSI, the Pressuretrol will stop the burner. The burner will restart when the pressure drops to 1/2 PSI. 7. If the water level in the boiler drops too low, the low-water cutoff will stop the burner. It may also call in a feeder to restore the water level. If the boiler has a float-type LWCO (such as McDonnell & Miller 47-2 or 67), the owner must flush it out once a week to keep sediment from building up. This can cause the float to stick and not drop when needed, which could lead to a cracked boiler. I like to flush these with the burner running- this proves that the burner will stop when the float chamber empties. If you're not that familiar with steam, get a copy of Dan's "The Lost Art of Steam Heating". You can order it on the Books and More page of this site. It's very well written, covers all of the above and much, much more. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

It sounds to me

@ February 16, 2003 11:04 AM in Losing Steam Fast

like that boiler has cracked near the top. That explains why the "white smoke" is leaving the chimney- it's actually steam. Unless I'm wrong, you need a new boiler. Several factors can cause a boiler to crack. The most common is a low-water cutoff that malfunctions and lets the burner run when there's not enough water in the boiler. But it can also be caused by improper piping around the boiler. I just looked at a Columbia steam boiler on a Hoffman Vapor system that cracked, and it appeared to be caused by improper piping and the boiler being slightly undersized. I'll post pics of that one if we get the replacement job. Burnham makes first-class boilers, and it's not unusual to see their older equipment still running well after several decades. I'm sure they'd want to know why your boiler went bad. Our contact at Burnham is Glenn Stanton, who is one of the best there is. E-mail him at gstanton@burnham.com - but I wouldn't be surprised if he shows up on this thread soon! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Sizing Main Vents

@ February 16, 2003 10:42 AM in A bigger steam vent?

is done by calculating the amount of air in the main. We then compare that amount to what the vent will handle at 2 ounces or so. If you measure the length and diameter of your steam mains, we can tell you if the #75 is the right size. If you have more than one main, post the information for them all. If a bigger one is needed, the Gorton #2 is great. It has four times the capacity of a Hoffman #75. www.gorton-valves.com To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I've done it that way

@ February 14, 2003 6:17 PM in Mad Dog's vapor system

and you just proved once again how well it works. 15 minutes from a cold start ain't bad. How long does it take to fill the mains w/steam if you measure from the time the boile starts producing the steam? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Lookin Good, MD

@ February 13, 2003 8:52 AM in The new vapor system

but why two vents on the little Bundy? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Keep the Steam

@ February 13, 2003 8:34 AM in advice on one pipe steam repipe

This is a great opportunity to learn steam. After you do, you might just get the urge to build a whole new system- just like Ed Bratton, Noel, Mad Dog and I have! We all had to start somehere, and this sounds to me like your starting point. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"