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Steamhead

Steamhead

Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on July 23, 2014

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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"

Having lived with both

@ February 2, 2003 10:01 AM in which dries your throat more? hot air or baseboard?

I'd say scorched air is definitely worse. The moving air dries your skin. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Are they

@ February 1, 2003 6:39 PM in Using Steam Radiators Without Water?

Clow "Gasteam" units? I'm surprised they haven't started a fire. But I think they have pipe tappings on the bottom- if that were my house I'd probably build a steam system using them, and disconnect the gas burners. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

New furnasties?

@ February 1, 2003 5:44 PM in Saved a building today...

This would be the time to sell hydronics, or hydro-air at the very least! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

And

@ February 1, 2003 5:33 PM in Old steam fin-tube rads

if they aren't, I have some real old stuff that Dan didn't have when he published his book. Try to find out who made yours. Take some pics and post them here. Is that a one-pipe or two-pipe system? Are traps built into those convector units? I recently ran into some similar ones with orifices built in for Vapor operation. They were made by Trane. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I have a similar system

@ February 1, 2003 5:25 PM in Replace CI with flat panel radiators

and it works great! With an efficient, properly sized boiler and circulator, yours should too. No need to rebuild it- just clean the radiators up and enjoy them. The leaky joints should be relatively easy to fix but you'll have to drain the system to do it. If they're not leaking badly, this might be a good summer project. I've kept my gravity piping since we don't know what the future will bring, energy-wise. Having a system that can circulate without a pump may be an advantage down the road a ways. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Gary, I sent Noel a heads-up

@ February 1, 2003 5:21 PM in Dirty gas boiler pic

since it's one of his boilers. I know he will be interested to find out what's wrong. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

They're probably Clow \"Gasteam\" units

@ February 1, 2003 5:08 PM in Is It Dangerous to Operate Steam Radiators Without Water

surprised they haven't started a fire. But I think they have pipe tappings on the bottom- if that were my house I'd probably build a steam system using them, and disconnect the gas burners. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Had to

@ January 30, 2003 6:03 PM in Slant-Fin steam baseboard

get him out of the way of the shot! Don't know whose boot that was- could have been HO's, he was doing his own drywall. That system had a lot wrong with it when we first got there, but we got him straighened out. That's what made him decide to heat the addition with Orifice Vapor. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Amen, Steve

@ January 30, 2003 5:50 PM in EFFICIANCY PAYBACK

I talk to many people who have gotten the idea that a new boiler will cure their high heating costs. Well, it might help, but once the boiler has transferred the heat to the water (whether boiling it or not) its job is done. From that point on, the SYSTEM must move the heat to the rooms. I see this problem all the time on steam systems, but it can show up on hot-water as well. Fortunately, it's usually pretty easy to cure. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Tell us more, Jim

@ January 30, 2003 5:45 PM in EFFICIANCY PAYBACK

was the unit just way out of adjustment, or was there some other problem? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"