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Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on April 23, 2014

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There is a way

@ March 9, 2014 10:51 PM in Steam distribution pipe removal options?

to run a steam main without pitch of any kind. Basically, you run it tight to the ceiling and every runout (branch line) comes off from the bottom, thereby serving as a drip point to get rid of condensate. Each riser to a radiator is then dripped into the return line, with a water seal if it is a dry return rather than a wet one. This involves a bit more piping, but solves the headroom problem.

I've never actually seen this done, but one of my Dead Men's Books describes it. There's no reason it shouldn't work.

What you need

@ March 9, 2014 12:01 PM in Radiator to baseboard

is a differently shaped cast-iron radiator that will not stick out so far from the wall, but will give off the same amount of heat.

Take a picture of the side of the radiator and tell us how tall it is. From this we can determine its heat output.

You will also need an access panel where the main vent is, large enough to permit easy replacement. If there is more than one steam main, you need access to the other main vents too.

There are some boilers we wouldn't convert either

@ March 9, 2014 11:54 AM in Beating a dead horse.

if the boiler is undersized (just ran into one the other day), grossly oversized, in poor condition, inherently inefficient etc. But most recent wet-base boilers run very well with good conversion burners.

If we do replace a boiler, especially a steamer, we lean toward a wet-base/power burner unit because of its better thermal efficiency. And we stock parts for the burners we install, so there should not be any servicing issues.

What I see from looking at the picture in the manual

@ March 9, 2014 11:47 AM in Beating a dead horse.

is that the coil does appear to be above the "lowest permissible water level". But the probe-type low-water cutoff will stop the burner and call for water well above that point. And, on a gravity-return system, the water level will rise above the cutoff level as the water returns from the system, so the effective working water level should cover the coil.

That said, we've never installed a MegaSteam with a coil.

You'd need a lot of baseboard

@ March 8, 2014 11:44 PM in Radiator to baseboard

to equal the output of that radiator. I doubt it would be practical.

Since this one warms up last, you need to check to see whether there is a main vent on the steam main feeding it, and if so, whether it is the right size.

The other factor

@ March 8, 2014 9:37 PM in Cleaning a boiler.

is the temperature of the oil- which will affect atomization if it gets too cold.

We first locate the point at which the burner starts to make smoke by reducing the air supply, then back off until the smoke disappears.

Take a CO2 reading. Then, if it's summer, add enough air to drop the CO2 by one percent, if it's cold you can usually get away with half a percent. Note that some people do this slightly differently, but the principle is the same- we never leave the burner set up so that any slight reduction in air or increase of oil will make the burner produce smoke. This allows for any such variations while maintaining good combustion efficiency.

That's what we mean by headroom.

Of course this assumes the boiler is in good condition and equipped with a flame-retention burner. And it requires the use of a smoke tester and electronic combustion analyzer. But the result is, or should be, good efficiency and little if any cleaning to do next time the boiler is opened up for service.

That guy

@ March 7, 2014 10:34 PM in For all you steam heads out there

is awfully brave.................

And the ESC has been recalled

@ March 7, 2014 10:24 PM in Beating a dead horse.

along with the PVG and SCG:

I would use

@ March 7, 2014 10:19 PM in Carlin Gas Conversion or new oil tank?

the 9-slot diffuser on the EZ-Gas, as it gives the shortest, most compact flame. 

I think it's time

@ March 7, 2014 5:53 PM in Beating a dead horse.

for you to do your own research. 

I think that's another indication

@ March 7, 2014 12:46 PM in Beating a dead horse.

he is involved with Burnham. He refuses to tell us anything, but one day we'll find out for sure. 

As long as

@ March 7, 2014 12:26 PM in Beating a dead horse.

the conversion burner is listed for conversion use- which they all are- and is installed according to the procedures set forth in the burner's manual, there's no problem.

You really need to read your history. Decades ago, when oil and gas began to replace coal as the fuel of choice for home heating, boilers were rarely replaced. Instead, they were updated with listed conversion burners. Many such boilers were made by companies that did not survive the Depression- the one that began in 1929, not 2008- so it would have been impossible to contact the manufacturers. The solution was for UL and other agencies to specifically approve these burners for conversion use when installed according to very specific instructions.

This system still exists today. Look in the I&O manual for any current-model conversion burner, or on the burner itself if you encounter one, and you will see the listing information.

Tim McElwain, a gentleman who we all respect, has said he has never had a problem with the many (thousands?) of conversion burners he has installed. He is one of the best in the business, and has set many examples for the rest of us to follow. I am certain that if there were any issues with these burners he would be all over it.

We haven't installed nearly the number of conversion burners Tim has, but like him we've never had an issue- just a lot of satisfied customers.

Harper111, do you have anything else to contribute to this board besides anti-conversion-burner zealotry?

Not if you do it right

@ March 6, 2014 11:31 PM in Cleaning a boiler.

and leave enough headroom.

I agree

@ March 6, 2014 11:28 PM in Carlin Gas Conversion or new oil tank?

with Tim. 

Harper111's record is still perfect

@ March 6, 2014 11:19 PM in Beating a dead horse.

he hasn't posted here at all except to try to scare people away from conversion burners. Info is here:

But we just got two more conversion burner contracts. Go ahead Harper111, keep on telling people to waste their money by throwing away their relatively new boilers- they'll just sign with someone like us who can offer them a better deal. Trolls do have their usefulness.

It took

@ March 6, 2014 11:12 PM in Beating a dead horse.

two more days... I would have lost the bet. 


@ March 6, 2014 12:03 AM in Burnham recall?

is part of US Boiler. I think the recall applied to their ESC model series, but can't find it quickly. 


@ March 6, 2014 12:01 AM in Completed boiler & chiller instal

was there before?

There you have it, Techman

@ March 4, 2014 9:33 AM in Leaking curved steam radiators

I recognized the valve and trap. 

The C is too big

@ March 3, 2014 11:27 PM in Gorton #C steam vent valve replacement + hammering/clanging noise

which lets the steam come up too fast, so the water can't drain back. This causes the banging. Try a Gorton #5, or another Hoffman #43. 

I think those are H.B. Smith radiators

@ March 3, 2014 11:24 PM in Leaking curved steam radiators

some of these had the rods inside the radiator.

And this looks like a Webster Vapor system.

Bill, I'm drawing a blank on this one

@ March 3, 2014 11:04 PM in Help me ballance my 1 pipe steam Please!

but if you call our office (link at bottom of this post, leave a message if we're not there) we'll be glad to come have a look. I'll probably remember when I see it.

As far as converting that V8- yeah, I'd go ahead and do it. There is at least one person whose only presence on the Wall consists of telling people a conversion will never pass inspection- but ours do, so there's no worry.

And thanks all for the kind words!
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