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Steamhead

Steamhead

Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on July 29, 2014

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Is that a Burnham boiler?

@ February 8, 2003 2:14 PM in Steam question

I often see gauges like that on Burnhams. These have an internal water seal ("syphon") to keep steam from reaching the gauge mechanism. When one goes bad, I usually replace it with a standard gauge and a standard pigtail-type syphon which can be cleaned if it plugs up. This should be done by a pro. Go to the "Find a Contractor" page of this site to locate one near you. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Welcome to the club

@ February 8, 2003 1:31 AM in The Dead Men are alive and well.......

of steam heat installers! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Jim, the easiest way I know

@ February 6, 2003 5:47 PM in Adive on installing a main vent (pics)

to install a main vent there is to drill and tap a 3/8-inch pipe-thread hole in the side of the last tee. Be sure to angle the tap slightly upward so the hole will be pitched toward the main. Come out from the hole with a short 3/8" nipple and install a 3/8" x 1/2" reducer ell with the 1/2" side pointing up. Screw a short 1/2" nipple into the ell and a Gorton #1 or Hoffman #75 vent onto the nipple. Then watch how fast the system heats up. You may have to open a hole in the ceiling to accomodate the vent if there's not enough headroom. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Most Vapor systems

@ February 5, 2003 8:06 PM in 2 pipe vapor presure

should not be operated at more than 8 ounces or so. Replacing the Pressuretrol with a Vaporstat will make this possible. Tell us more about the system- Who made it? Does it have traps? Water seals? Orifices? Post pics if you can- we love this old stuff! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Water runs clear then darkens?

@ February 5, 2003 7:59 PM in Surging question

Then keep draining it- after shutting down the burner of course. And be SURE the boiler is cool before you refill. If you turn cold water into a hot boiler it will crack. I'd repipe that fill line into the wet return before the Hartford Loop. That way there's much less chance of shocking the boiler. This is a job for a pro. Those two "steam valves" you mention- are these shutoff ("King") valves? Safety Valves? Air vents? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I have a friend

@ February 4, 2003 9:34 PM in need feedback on AO Smith Cyclone---Bill Clinton

whose company installed several of these (I think they're the same model series) and howl they did. I'd be interested to know how to cure the problem and will pass the solution on to her. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Thanks

@ February 4, 2003 9:29 PM in Eclectic Steamers

for the thought! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

\"RTFM\" Proven Again

@ February 4, 2003 9:27 PM in Carbon Monoxide

"Read The Freakin' Manual"! Way to go, Tim. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Yes it is related

@ February 4, 2003 9:15 PM in L W C O 47-2 can it be installed on the hot or cold water

the float-operated valve in that feeder can lime up if fed with hot water. This is probably why the feeder "hasn't worked in years". The valve unit will have to be cleaned or replaced to make it work again. It should not be necessary to replace the entire feeder unless something else is wrong with it. McDonnell & Miller makes a big deal of this in their installation instructions. Somebody didn't read them. Dan also covers this in "The Lost Art of Steam Heating". If you run the feeder outlet line into the wet return before the Hartford Loop, the incoming water will be tempered enough that it won't shock the boiler- assuming the boiler wasn't dry-firing! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Dan, is that

@ February 4, 2003 9:01 PM in Dan H., Steamhead, et. al. -DF

the original (2 vertical pipes about 1" diameter) or later (one vertical pipe about 2" diameter) version of the Loop? The original would have had a Hoffman #11 vacuum vent (or two on larger systems), which is about the size of a small coffee can, screwed into the top of the Loop. This is the biggest, fastest vent I have ever seen. Hoffman also made a non-vacuum version called the #10. I wish they still did. The later version had a #15 vent which was installed in a tee on the dry return near the Loop. I have never seen one of these but it probably had a capacity similar to the #11. The steam mains on these systems were vented by thermostatic traps discharging air into the dry return. From there it traveled to the vent at the Loop and left the system. If these traps go bad, steam distribution will suffer. The biggest vent I know of that's being made today is the Gorton #2. That's what I'd use on your system. It is a non-vacuum vent but that's fine when burning oil or gas. If you can hear the air rushing out of a single #2 as the system is heating up, install a tee and a second #2. www.gorton-valves.com To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I have

@ February 4, 2003 8:48 PM in Eclectic Steamers

a pair of those- no name on them though! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Definitely a leak somewhere

@ February 4, 2003 8:36 PM in Very high residential water bills

Most water meters have a small pointer that turns quickly when water is flowing. Shut off the main valve inside the house and check the meter. If it continues to show water flowing, your service is leaking between the meter and the house. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Art, if the radiators froze

@ February 4, 2003 8:31 PM in Cast iron radiators or baseboard for old farmhouse?

you might have some burst pipes too. This would mean more work. If you have to re-do the piping, why not install steam rather than hot-water? The radiators will be smaller, and they won't freeze. If the boiler quits, the only parts of a steam system that will retain water are the wet returns in the basement, and the boiler itself. And if you do a one-pipe system, there will be fewer pipes. We did this when rehabbing an old farmhouse a few years ago. It worked great! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Possibly

@ February 4, 2003 8:23 PM in dead men help

an intake chamber for a large indirect-heating setup? What's above this mystery Richardson installation? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Baltimore!

@ February 4, 2003 8:18 PM in Just wondering, where we all from?

Home of lots of steam heat- hot-water too. Also two mediocre sports franchises and Noel's old Coast Guard ship. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Tim, contact your ISP

@ February 4, 2003 8:12 PM in Those who e-mail me

they can probably find out where those threatening messages are coming from. You may also need to involve your local police. I'm not sure what the law is in your area, but I believe in Maryland an e-mail threat is handled similar to telephone misuse, in which the crime is said to be committed at the location where the threat is RECEIVED, rather than where it was made from. In this scenario your local police and court system would have jurisdiction. I believe letting someone get away with this type of thing is, in effect, telling them it's OK to do so. If it were me, I'd prosecute. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

OK.......

@ February 3, 2003 8:37 PM in Two Handful of Steam Problems on one jod

If the boiler has been replaced, the dry return vent tee may have been removed. In that case we can drill & tap a 3/8" or 1/2" hole in the return to install a vent. If you have to vent a 1-1/2-inch main that runs 125 feet, you need to use a Gorton #2 vent. Use the same vent on the dry return. If you can't find Gortons in your area go to www.gorton-valves.com to see who carries them. If no one does in your area they will sell to you direct. Orifice Vapor systems are wonderfully simple. They have the fewest moving parts of any system out there. All you have to do is keep the pressure low, and they heat quickly and quietly. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I ran into something similar

@ February 3, 2003 8:34 PM in Hot Water Circulator Noise

turned out to be a harmonic vibration in the pipes. Switching from a B&G 100 (similar to the H-32 I believe) to a Taco 0010 solved the problem. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Doing fine so far

@ February 2, 2003 11:58 AM in Two Handful of Steam Problems on one jod

bet that cleaning made a big difference! If the boiler's nameplate specifies a max firing rate of .95 GPH, then the .85 at 140 PSI is too big. Try a .75, which should give you about .90 GPH at 140 PSI. Overfiring can cause surging on its own- even with clean water. The lack of insulation is certainly wasting steam. That said, I'll bet the boiler is shutting off on pressure before the thermostat is satisfied. You say the main is 125-feet long. Is this the length of just the steam main, or the return as well? What diameter is the steam main? If we know its length and diameter, we can calculate how much air is in that steam main and make sure it has the proper vent. If the main vent is too small, it can cause short-cycling. Get Dan's book "E.D.R." to determine the convectors' capacity. You can order it on the Books and More page of this site. If you have something really odd and it isn't in the book, post some pics here and we'll do our best to identify it. Which brings me to something else: A two-pipe steam system with convectors that don't have traps? There's a chance that could be an Orifice Vapor system that has been butchered. Here's a pic of a convector in one such system I ran into. The cover is off, but it has a damper with a knob on the front that I believe has "Trane" on it. Trane made this particular system. The orifices were originally cast into the convector fin-tube headers. On your system, look to see if there is a tee at the end of the dry (above the waterline) return that has a plug in it. If so, this was where the return vent was. It eliminated the need for a vent on each convector. Also, find the smallest convector in the house, remove the element and try to blow into the supply connection. If you feel some resistance, there's probably an orifice in there. Orifice Vapor relied on accurate pressure regulation to keep the steam from reaching the dry return. Most such systems maxed out at 8 ounces or so. On a modern boiler you need a Vaporstat to keep the pressure that low. A standard Pressuretrol won't do. There should not be any steam in the dry return on a Vapor system. It pays to look over every inch of a steam system. That way you know what you're looking at! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Broomell

@ February 2, 2003 11:36 AM in Steam traps problem

was made by the Vapor/Vacuum Heating Company, an old system manufacturer located in Philadelphia. Their early systems had water seals rather than traps. These are covered in Dan's "The Lost Art of Steam Heating" and "The Lost Art of Steam Heating Companion" which are available on the Books and More page of this site. Get them if you haven't already, they're well worth it. I still run into their gear around Baltimore, even after all these years. Mr. Tunstall should be able to supply parts for them, or direct you to someone who can. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Well said, Noel

@ February 2, 2003 10:57 AM in EFFICIANCY PAYBACK

I haven't run into much overgassing here in Baltimore, but the ones I have seen were scary. One of them was a Slant/Fin steamer, and I know you would not have backed the overgasser if something had gone wrong. And you would be right to not do so. Those of us engaged in the business of designing, manufacturing and distributing quality heating equipment really put themselves on the line every time a new unit is installed. This willingness to do so, and the effort put into making sure the equipment works as specified, deserves a great deal of respect- the same as a well-run manufacturer gives to those of us in the field who install their gear. To arbitrarily throw out the manufacturer's specifications is not only insane, it shows a lack of respect for all those people who have done their best to make their gear as good as it can be. One need only look at a mis-piped steam boiler that "never ran right" to see an example of this. Now I don't have nearly as much experience testing boilers as some of my esteemed colleagues on the Wall, but I've NEVER seen a boiler that produced less CO when it was overgassed. From what I can tell on the ones I've seen, overgassing led to impingement which actually raised the CO. In EVERY case I've seen, returning to the manufacturer's specified BTU input caused the CO to go down. This is what we're after, and the information needed to get there has always been right there on the label. And if one of us sets up a boiler to the manufacturer's specs and it still isn't right, we have a whole group of people we can call on. If it's a Burnham, Glenn Stanton is there to help. If it's a Slant/Fin, Noel and Steve are. If it's a Smith, there's Bob Flanagan. If it's a Weil-McLain, Bill Wright is there. If it's a Dunkirk, it's Tom Gdaniec. If it's- well, you get the idea. I have seen that these people are committed to solving whatever problems arise in the field. But if I were one of them and someone contacted me about a bad boiler the first thing I'd ask is- "Is it set up to our specifications?". Because if not, I couldn't guarantee that it would run properly and safely. Having listened to both sides of this issue, I have to stand with Timmie, Noel and the rest. Jim, that doesn't mean I'll stop listening to your side. I even hope to take your class one of these days, as I also hope to take Timmie's classes. But from what I have seen, overgassing is a hazardous practice, and is not needed to produce acceptably low CO levels. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Sizing Vents

@ February 2, 2003 10:13 AM in unyoking a double weil mclain

you say the mains are 6-8 inches in diameter. That turns out to be quite a difference as an 8-inch main has almost twice the air in it as a 6-incher. We size vents based on how much air is to be vented, so we need to know exactly what size the pipe is. If they start out at one size and end at another we need to know how much of each size pipe is involved. Be sure to measure the pipe itself, not the insulation or the fittings. The Gorton #2 vent is the largest vent made today. It out-vents the Hoffman #75 4-to-1. If your mains are 6-inch all the way through you'd need 5 Gorton #2 vents on each main and if they are 8-inch you need 8 per main. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"