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Steamhead

Steamhead

Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on July 23, 2014

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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"

#6

@ February 13, 2003 8:27 AM in sight glass question

It's possible the 1/2-inch pipes coming out from the boiler to the sight glass fittings are plugged. Could be either the bottom or the top one. If these pipes are steel, they should be replaced with brass ones or the problem will keep coming back. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Doesn't look that old

@ February 13, 2003 8:22 AM in Another main vent question

unless someone repainted the jacket. And it looks like a steel tubular boiler rather than a "snowman". It shouldn't take an hour to make steam. Perhaps all you need is a good boiler man. Tried "Find a Contractor" yet? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Thanks Noel

@ February 12, 2003 5:02 PM in converting a gravity system to a pumped system

Lots of good suggestions in this thread. You're definitely going to need a circulator, but the job it must do is very small- moving the water thru the new boiler and that's about it. The pipes have so little resistance for the load they must carry that it's too easy to overpump such a system. I prefer to use a smaller circ on this type of system rather than a throttled-down (using valves or smaller pipes) larger one. It uses less electricity and is easier on the pump. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Cable Internet is nice

@ February 12, 2003 4:53 PM in phone line of CABLE wow

but so is DSL. Of course, one broadband service or the other may not be available in your area. In Baltimore, we can get DSL Internet but not cable at this time. There's no fixed wireless that I know of. Verizon's DSL has a pretty good up-time and they do a good job fixing whatever problems do come up. I still keep a 56k modem as a backup though. Any other Wallsters have broadband? What experience have you had? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Well Said, HB

@ February 12, 2003 4:46 PM in benifits to going steam to hot water?

steam systems are much easier, and less expensive, to fix than convert. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Another good reason

@ February 12, 2003 4:41 PM in Top 10 Reasons to join us at Wetstock 2

those of you who haven't done so already, will get to meet Dan! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

That sounds like

@ February 12, 2003 4:38 PM in What is this fitting?

it works the same as the Honeywell Unique valve that Mark posted. Can't wait to see a pic of this one! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Is that an old round \"snowman\" boiler

@ February 12, 2003 4:23 PM in Another main vent question

like the one in the picture? If so, it's horribly inefficient when used with oil or gas. This type of boiler did not have much heat-transfer surface in it, and what it did have was hampered by the extremely large flue passages needed for coal firing. This isn't new news- one of my Dead Men's Books from the 1940s says these round boilers will probably not show an efficiency better than 40% when used with oil. And that's just while the boiler is actually running- not its AFUE. Venting the mains will definitely help. But you will see a big improvement when that old boiler is replaced by a new one. If you can't afford to replace the boiler now, have a good gas-conversion man look it over and install suitable bricks and baffles to slow down the escaping flue gases. This, however, is a stopgap measure at best. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

If everything heats up on an ounce

@ February 11, 2003 8:54 PM in Trane Vapor System

you can't get any better! Reuben Trane is surely smiling on you from Heaven. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Try Winters Instruments

@ February 11, 2003 8:46 PM in Burnham steam boiler PSI gauge

i think it's www.winters.com/ca or something similar. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

To \"drip\" a steam line

@ February 11, 2003 9:12 AM in What does \"drip a line\" mean

means to provide a pipe through which condensate can leave the line and go back to the boiler. The drop pipe at the end of a steam main is a drip, and on long mains you will see them at intervals along the main. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

The reason they use this type of gauge

@ February 11, 2003 9:09 AM in Burnham steam boiler PSI gauge

is because Code requires the gauge to read twice as much pressure as the safety valve (and the max pressure allowable for that boiler) is rated for. But there's nothing to prevent us from adding a gauge that can accurately indicate lower pressures. Just get a 1/4" black steel tee, a 1/4" black 90-degree elbow and a couple of 1/4" black nipples and put everything together. If it were up to me, I'd use safety valves with lower blow-off settings too. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

And speaking of Noel

@ February 10, 2003 2:32 PM in Steam question

here's a drop header that he built. This one was built to get around the problem of the steam mains being too low for the risers to the header to come up 24" above the waterline. And they're easier to install than a standard header, though you do need a couple more fittings. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Well, I love living in Baltimore

@ February 10, 2003 1:57 AM in If you had choice for location...

but I'll second the White Mountain NH area, or the Maine coast- maybe buy one of those big old houses but it would have to have steam heat! Or Montana, Idaho or the Dakotas where I could introduce steam! "Hey, how would you like to have a system that feels as nice as having a wood stove in every room, and will never freeze, and can run without electricity (as soon as my friend Noel comes up with a way to power a probe LWCO from a powerpile)? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"