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Steamhead

Steamhead

Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on July 24, 2014

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Water might look clean

@ January 22, 2003 5:56 PM in Steam Furnace Surging/Needs Water Every Day

but there may still be lots of dirt in the boiler. Have the water-filled areas of the boiler cleaned well. Also check to see that there isn't a leak in the boiler above the waterline. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

And

@ January 22, 2003 5:51 PM in efficient steam boiler

once the boiler has generated the steam, its job is done. From that point, the system must move the steam to the radiators. If the mains are not properly vented and the pipes not properly insulated, you'll waste lots of gas in this stage. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Eric, if you want to experiment

@ January 22, 2003 5:47 PM in I'm confused

get a Grundfos 15-42 that has the 3-speed controller. Then get an infrared heat gun like the Raytek I posted a while back. This will let you make and measure changes easily. Remember that the best flow rate thru fin-tube heat transmitters such as baseboard or convectors is more than for cast-iron radiators. This is because those big old lumps of iron have much more heat-transfer surface in them, and the slower rate takes advantage of this. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Found a ruined Honeywell damper today

@ January 22, 2003 5:20 PM in Draft hoods, Stack dampers and Standby losses

on a small Slant/Fin Galaxy steamer in a rowhouse. The motor had burned out. The damper blade was stuck- fortunately in the full-open position. But the damper itself was NOT the cause of the problem. SOMEONE HAD SCREWED THE GAS REGULATOR ALL THE WAY DOWN! I stopped the Testo when the stack temp quickly rose past 650 degrees. Obviously this was the cause of the burnout. And you could see where the gas had burned inside some of the burner tubes. This was due to all that excess gas on startup. Sometimes the flame would roll out momentarily and enter the air shutters- but not enough to trip the rollout switch. Fortunately we got to this one in time. The owner realizes how lucky he is. Moral: If you find a bad damper, check everything on the boiler to be sure something else isn't wrong. I'm sure that's already standard procedure for Wallies! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Looking Good, Ron

@ January 22, 2003 4:58 PM in Big steam job - ron jr .

I'm surprised we don't see more drop-headers, they're so much easier to install. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

You need a pro, O.

@ January 21, 2003 10:57 PM in Goodman Gas Pack - Natural Gas

flames rolling out like that can result from several things. Hiring someone familiar with that unit is money well spent. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

\"Pipes Callin' \"

@ January 21, 2003 10:47 PM in The pipes, the pipes are calling - Dan H.

thought you were talking about a banging steam system ;-) To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

\"The distribution system is piped in parallel\".......

@ January 21, 2003 10:20 PM in I'm confused

was this originally a gravity system that now circulates with a pump? If it has huge mains (2-inch or larger) and radiator lines (1-inch to 1-1/2-inch) it almost certainly is. It is way too easy to over-pump a gravity conversion. There is almost no resistance in those big pipes to the load they must carry. The only real work the pump has to do is move the water thru the boiler. Your pump is probably oversized, since the water picks up more heat in the boiler when you slow the flow down. Bell & Gossett had a formula in the 1940s that still works well for sizing circulators for gravity conversions. Measure the actual amount of radiation in the house (not the boiler's rating), then go to http://www.heatinghelp.com/newsletter.cfm?Id=125 for an easy-to-use chart based on this formula which will tell you how much flow you need. If you're not sure how to determine the amount of your radiation, get a copy of Dan's book "E.D.R." which has charts for almost any radiator you might have. Order it on the Books and More page of this site. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I ran into one of those a couple weeks ago

@ January 21, 2003 9:55 PM in *NO* steam pressure

turned out the service pipe (low-pressure distribution) from the street to the house was blocked. Major repair job, but the gas company took care of it. Homeowner got both barrels from gas company techs after getting the same from me, for letting the problem drag on for about a month. They were lucky something didn't explode- and so are you. Call the gas company's emergency number NOW. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

If you have the ABC-Sunray FC Bantam burner

@ January 21, 2003 4:05 PM in boiler

the setup specs are, well, different. But when set up properly it runs well. The important thing to remember is, it's NOT a Beckett! I have the OEM specs for this burner on the V1 series boilers, and Glenn can get you almost anything else. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Glenn, if I find one of those in my travels

@ January 21, 2003 3:57 PM in Glenn Stanton

I'll scan and e-mail it to you. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I remember

@ January 21, 2003 3:48 PM in Draft hoods, Stack dampers and Standby losses

some old, old gas conversion burners had air-inlet dampers. This would seem to be the best place to put a damper to prevent the sort of drafting you describe. But I've yet to see an atmospheric boiler that could be set up that way. I doubt you'd have that problem with a sealed-combustion unit. Maybe that's the way to go in your situation. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Vacuum

@ January 21, 2003 3:43 PM in Vacuum Vent Valves for steam Radiators

"All the steam is drawn back into the boiler"? I'd say you have a basic problem there. All your steam pipes should be insulated with at least 1-inch of fiberglass- including the header and equalizer. You can get tubular insulation made to fit around your pipes from most supply houses. The less the steam condenses in the piping, the less vacuum you'll get. There will still be some vacuum generated in the radiators as the steam condenses there, but if your piping is well insulated it will continue to draw steam from the boiler after the burner shuts off. There's more to a vacuum vent than a check-valve on the outlet. Dan's "The Lost Art of Steam Heating Companion" has a cutaway view of one. I wouldn't put a check on the inlet to a standard vent as water will accumulate in the vent and not be able to drain due to the closed check. This would cause the vent to spit and might ruin it. As a temporary solution, try boiling your malfunctioning vacuum vents in vinegar. This may get them working again. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Yes I do

@ January 21, 2003 3:31 PM in One-pipe steam problem

but I've said this many times before- check with the boiler's manufacturer before down-firing it that much. This way you know you're doing it right. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Interesting question

@ January 21, 2003 3:27 PM in Draft hoods, Stack dampers and Standby losses

yes, the air drafting thru the boiler and out the draft hood when the damper is closed is a loss, but nothing compared to a three-story coal-designed chimney sucking air thru the boiler during the off cycle. And that off-cycle air drafting thru a non-dampered boiler has to come from somewhere- most often the living space we're trying to heat. I'd still go with the damper. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I'd buy that house

@ January 21, 2003 3:21 PM in Need advice on steam/hotwater heating

assuming the heating system is working properly, you'll be much more comfortable than you ever were with scorched-air. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

20 year old Burnham

@ January 21, 2003 12:49 AM in boiler

should still have plenty of life in it. My V-14 was installed 20 years ago this summer and is in great shape, and is efficient enough that it makes no sense to replace it now. So are a whole lot of other older Burnhams I've seen. As Glenn says, the key to long life is proper operation and maintenance. With these, a good boiler will last for decades. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Any form of air-based heat delivery

@ January 21, 2003 12:19 AM in hydro heat vs hot air - whats the difference

will cause stacking in that kitchen. Baseboard is better, but the fin-tube variety works mostly by convection which also contributes to stacking. Cast-iron baseboard radiates much better than fin-tube, but will still cause some degree of stacking. Radiant in-floor heat will be more expensive to install, but will run much more economically since it causes almost no stacking. It really comes down to "pay now or later". To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

The mains are probably OK

@ January 21, 2003 12:14 AM in One-pipe steam problem

but the runouts and risers are no doubt problematic, since condensate flows against the steam in these lines. If that were my job I would have solved the performance problems with the old indirect radiation, or found some good used free-standing radiators and installed them. Try flushing the lines out as Ron suggested. If that doesn't help, you'll have to down-fire the boiler. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Vacuum

@ January 21, 2003 12:05 AM in Vacuum Vent Valves for steam Radiators

is problematic at best, Ted. If you don't get all the air out of the system on start-up, the remaining air can expand and block steam flow. This is one reason that type of radiator vent is no longer made. You can still get Hoffman #76 vacuum main vents though. If that were my system I'd change over to straight steam vents. What is the "imperative" reason you need vacuum? Maybe there's another way to do what you need to do. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Verrrry interesting

@ January 20, 2003 5:57 PM in Steam stuff, radiators etc

maybe we can have Wetstock 3 in Montreal, and take the tour? What do you think, Dan? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Shouldn't affect it

@ January 19, 2003 11:28 PM in boiler pressure and heat exchange

The only reason you need pressure at that level is to make sure the water fills the system to the top. Pressure does not affect circulator efficency- what goes up must come down, and the two balance each other out. Picture a Ferris wheel- the principle is the same. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"