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OT: any steam heat wizards here?

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  • #16
    What does Boiler temp say ?
    You only get steam over 212 F, maybe your high temp shutoff is killing the burner early.
    I can;'t understand why you can't find a good Hydronic technician - where you are at
    Rich
    Green Bay, WI

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    • #17
      I am no steam tech, but your water loop manometer is the MOST accurate low pressure indicator you can have! We used to use that technology to measure restriction to airflow in ducts hundreds of feet long in buildings for flow balance.
      Robin

      Happily working on my second million Gave up on the first

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      • #18
        Originally posted by rdfeil View Post
        I am no steam tech, but your water loop manometer is the MOST accurate low pressure indicator you can have! We used to use that technology to measure restriction to airflow in ducts hundreds of feet long in buildings for flow balance.
        Concur. It is accurate from first principles, which is the best you can get. The only improvement is to check the temperature of the manometer water, which affects its density. (and at a tertiary level, the expansion of the manometer glass.).
        CNC machines only go through the motions

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        • #19
          Originally posted by J Tiers View Post

          Concur. It is accurate from first principles, which is the best you can get. The only improvement is to check the temperature of the manometer water, which affects its density. (and at a tertiary level, the expansion of the manometer glass.).
          Very interesting Jerry! I/We never considered that. It really did not matter as we were only looking for problem issues and there was only experience telling us what was to much differential. I will have to do some experimenting with cold, warm and hot water in the tubes and see what happens. Thanks for the info!
          Robin

          Happily working on my second million Gave up on the first

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          • #20
            I doubt that it is that important for almost any straight heating applications.

            I basically mentioned it because those considerations affect very accurate measurements. You will never need that accuracy for any normal purpose in a heating system. The point really was that the factors that would make the water column inaccurate are pretty dang small.

            I have no idea why the technician would think that a measurement based on something fundamental like the density of water (or mercury, etc) would be questionable. Whenever you want to measure something accurately, you want to use a "first principles" based method if you can, because you can prove the method accurate.

            The variables are simply to do with how well you know things like the density of the water in the water column, etc. If you DO know them, then you can essentially calculate the error and know you are correct.
            CNC machines only go through the motions

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            • #21
              The tech seemed to think the pressure HAD to be measured from above the waterline! Like the pressure would be different just because you took the hose off below the waterline. Sometimes I think these things are like sense of direction, either you're born with it or you're not. If you're not, someone can teach you, but you're not able to intuit it. I tried telling him it was just like a barometer, but it just didn't make any headway.
              Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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              • #22
                Despite being a union pipefitter who did HVAC work mainly I have worked on 2 pipe steam systems and very rarely 1 pipe. My guess is the system could be waterlogged. Water not steam in the pipes = no or very little heat. PS As my Ex found out in her 1 pipe gravity feed condo, if you use the radiator valve for heat control they MUST shut off 100% otherwise they will trap water in the radiator and it will not heat or it will spill water out of a faulty vent and flood the area!! Since those old hand valves are never perfect its better to leave them wide open.

                One question the boiler has been replaced and you say 2012, did it ever work right after that?

                In that PDF it mentions some mods that might need to be installed as the boiler (new) would run low on water because of the slow return of condensate.

                If the boiler control is faulty or set wrong it will trip off on the high pressure cut off to soon.
                Excellent link to a PDF on one pipe LPS > https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...9wrEY8sf-yha-e
                Last edited by wmgeorge; 01-16-2022, 10:28 AM.
                Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician

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                • #23
                  Usually, if there is a lot of water in the radiators, they must have been banging like a blacksmith shop for quite a while. Probably the valves are partly open as mentioned.

                  That PDF is a good writeup.
                  CNC machines only go through the motions

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                    Usually, if there is a lot of water in the radiators, they must have been banging like a blacksmith shop for quite a while. Probably the valves are partly open as mentioned.

                    That PDF is a good writeup.
                    If the valves are partly closed, they are trapping water. If the system then runs low on water the make up water will more than likely overfill the boiler when the water does return. My Ex's place the boiler was from the 1915 era with an updated burner.
                    Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by gellfex View Post
                      The tech seemed to think the pressure HAD to be measured from above the waterline! Like the pressure would be different just because you took the hose off below the waterline. Sometimes I think these things are like sense of direction, either you're born with it or you're not. If you're not, someone can teach you, but you're not able to intuit it. I tried telling him it was just like a barometer, but it just didn't make any headway.
                      He is right, you want steam pressure, the water has weight.
                      Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Rich Carlstedt View Post
                        What does Boiler temp say ?
                        You only get steam over 212 F, maybe your high temp shutoff is killing the burner early.
                        I can;'t understand why you can't find a good Hydronic technician - where you are at
                        Rich
                        In Jersey City, there would be hundreds of small apartment buildings with steam heat. Finding an experienced steam heating guy should be easy.
                        Company that serviced it last spring would be my first call, followed by the one who installed it.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by wmgeorge View Post

                          He is right, you want steam pressure, the water has weight.
                          ??????????????

                          We do NOT think so.

                          Pressure is pressure. The water has weight in the tube as well as the boiler. With no pressure, the water in both is at equal height. They BALANCE OUT.... get that fact straight in your mind. At that point there is no force raising the water in the tube above the water level of the boiler.

                          Now put pressure in the boiler. There is a NEW balance point, because MORE water above boiler level is needed to balance out the added pressure, which was balanced out before with the levels equal. Water must rise in the tube to supply the extra pressure to balance the higher pressure now existing.

                          So, of course the tube works when connected below boiler water level.

                          The only issue is that you must have it far enough down to not be uncovered when boiler water falls due to steaming. And the tube must be tall enough to actually balance the boiler pressure.

                          Is there any possible error?

                          Well, yes there is a possible error.... you always, no matter where the tube is connected, must measure the distance from the water in the tube to the water level in the boiler (for a connection "under water), or from the high side to the low side (if using a U-tube manometer on a steam line). It is a matter of "differential pressure".

                          And there is the chance that boiling water in the boiler will have a varying level (or local pressure) as bubbles form and rise. The column may be "active", like a boiler water gauge can be. That can be damped out with a smaller orifice if it is a problem (it might not be an issue).

                          By the way, the water level in the U-tube manometer is just like the water level in the boiler... the levels on both sides are equal with no pressure. Connecting to the boiler allows you to cut the bottom of the "U", and connect that to the boiler, because the other half of the U is in the boiler.
                          CNC machines only go through the motions

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                          • #28
                            Maybe if you have a compressor, even an air bed pump, you could pump some in at the hot end and check it is coming out all along the system. Yes I know you don't really want air in a steam system but I'm wondering if you have the reverse of the problem of badly designed wet systems. Ie a water lock in a dip intsead of an air lock in a hump.

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                            • #29

                              Originally posted by deltap View Post
                              Download " ITT steam book". I think it is free in pdf form. It has a chapter on troubleshooting steam systems. It explains the different types of steam systems and how they work. One pipe was the first and later systems, two pipe, vapor, and vacuum were improvements.
                              Thx, I have a great book by Dan Holohan, but more is better!



                              Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                              You have to ask yourself, why is the heat getting only partway up the pipes? Best answers to that are:

                              Problem making steam (flues clogged, horribly bad combustion, flue gas not going where you think, burners not all working, not enough water)

                              backpressure preventing flow (air vents not open, etc. Might not be much pressure to prevent flow, and/or divert it elsewhere)

                              Leaks (probably right near where the steam quits heating)

                              A combination of those factors.

                              What are you "absolutely sure of"? Double check that, and assume nothing when you do.... make the system PROVE that each factor is good.
                              One thing that's bugging me now is he didn't do a combustion analysis like he did last March. Is it possible that so much gas isn't burning but just going up the flue? It might even be worth it to buy the device for $400.

                              Location: Jersey City NJ USA

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by deltap View Post
                                Download " ITT steam book". I think it is free in pdf form. It has a chapter on troubleshooting steam systems. It explains the different types of steam systems and how they work. One pipe was the first and later systems, two pipe, vapor, and vacuum were improvements.
                                Can't seem to find a download that isn't scammy.
                                Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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