Buying new burner for boiler and efficiency question

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Old 03-21-12, 02:42 PM
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Lightbulb Buying new burner for boiler and efficiency question

I'm a property manager for an 18 unit apartment building where we are considering buying a new burner. The building uses steam heat and last heating season our old #4 oil burner which was converted to burn #2 oil broke down and we are worried it may happen again.

My question is :

1) If we buy a new burner for the building, how do I figure out what which type of burner would be most efficient to heat the building? (I want to make sure I'm not burning too much fuel to heat the building)

2) Is there anything I can do to increase the heating efficiency of the building? (ex. Make sure that all the radiators are pitched 1/4 of an inch)

I'd be grateful for any advice!
 
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Old 03-21-12, 03:58 PM
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So what kind of burner is the "old #4 oil burner", a rotary cup? What size in gallons per hour? What is the make, model and size of the boiler? Is it a "one-pipe" or "two-pipe" system? What pressure does it normally run and how are the individual apartments controlled?

The burner is only ONE PART of the entire heating system. You could put the newest, most efficient BURNER in the world on your SYSTEM and not realize much, if any savings. You have to look at BOTH the heating system AND the building to find ways to operate more efficiently. Pitching of the steam radiators has NOTHING to do with efficiency although it MAY have a great deal to do with the EFFICACY of the heating system, that is, how well it heats.

Post back with several pictures of the existing steam plant AND construction details of the building. More pictures are always better than too few. Make sure the pictures are in focus and are well lit. Nothing more useless than a dark, out-of-focus picture. Get them from all angles and both close ups and wide angle so we can see how things fit together.
 
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Old 03-21-12, 04:19 PM
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Thanks Furd, excellent info...

Tuna, most of the guys here are residentially oriented, and may not be able to help a whole lot but Furd is your guy and you can trust his advice.

By the way, you CAN Tuneafish... how?

Adjust his scales!

Almost forgot... you can't post the pics directly, you have to upload to a photo hosting site. I prefer Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket for various reasons... mostly because it's easy to navigate. Set up a FREE account there and upload the pics to a PUBLIC album.
 
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Old 03-21-12, 06:16 PM
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The place to start in all this is with a real building diagnostic consultant. Identify how the building envelope can be improved and make a prioritized plan to start doing it. Insulation, weatherization, etc. That is the cheapest and surest way to reduce fuel costs. And as you do so, it will be important to understand how the heating requirement changes, particularly with a steam system, and make any necessary adjustments.

For example, this kind of thing is happening all over NYC due to the change in emissions/fuel source requirements. Start with a look at the whole building performance.
 
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Old 03-21-12, 07:04 PM
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What Furd said..... The best way to fuel savings in a steam system is system efficiency. I of course am talking about the system, boiler, burner etc, you were already advised on the building tightening.
Steam system efficiency is good vent, traps, pipe insulation, balancing etc. If you are going to change the boiler maybe consider two boilers or multi-stage burners. If you chose just a burner maybe a full mod burner which changes the input according to the needs.
Check out these FAQ on steam
Steam FAQ
 
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Old 03-22-12, 02:14 PM
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Hey guys,

Thanks so much for the input and I really appreciate the advice. The boiler is a one pipe steam system and usually runs at about 3lbs of pressure. Any lower and people complain about lack of heat. I am not sure how many gallons an hour it uses, but on a cold day it burns an inch of oil from a 1500 gallon capacity tank. I have to look for the chart I have about that. The boiler is a steel boiler which is about 5' or 5'6 feet high and about 8' or 9' feet long, I will head down there to get more exact details.

My main concern is that I'm burning too much oil and that I am worried about my oil company installing a burner which might use too much oil, but as Furd and others stated, even with a really new and efficient burner, it is the whole system I should be looking at.

So far I have been looking into flushing out the return lines, pitching all the radiators and moving the heat sensor which indicates whether or not heating has been satisfied for the building. (Handyman put it too close to the boiler.)

-

I've heard the joke, "You can tune a piano but you can't tuna fish!" But I really like "How do you tune a fish? Adjust the scales!" Thnx NJ
 
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Old 03-22-12, 10:43 PM
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So far I have been looking into flushing out the return lines, pitching all the radiators and moving the heat sensor which indicates whether or not heating has been satisfied for the building. (Handyman put it too close to the boiler.)
None of these items have any significant effect on system efficiency. Please give me nameplate data of all equipment and ten thousand pictures as requested. Don't forget building construction either.

If you have a one-pipe system then I suspect the steam pressure is far higher than necessary. The complaints of low heat are more than likely due to factors other than lower pressure but until I can evaluate the entire system I can't state anything for certain.

OR, you could send me round trip, first class airline ticket along with accommodations in a four-star hotel for a minimum of two nights and I'll be glad to come look it over and give you a professional report. Don't forget the limousine.
 
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Old 03-23-12, 03:19 PM
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OR, you could send me round trip, first class airline ticket along with accommodations in a four-star hotel for a minimum of two nights and I'll be glad to come look it over and give you a professional report. Don't forget the limousine.
That would be a bargain! Furd, I'm sure you need to eat too... don't forget the stipend!
 
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Old 03-23-12, 03:36 PM
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The new burner

Depending on how clean the old and or the new burner burns. it is very important to inspect the fire side of the boiler to be shure that it is clean, and if not it should be cleaned a few times a year, and make shure the burner is running as efficiently as possible. Most larger commercial oil burners are very durable, and will run a long time with proper maintenance, including proper chemicals to keep the PH around 8 or so and chemicals to treat the oxygen problem, which isnt to bad if not much makeup water is needed. It is easier to work on the building to tighten it up as best you can. And there isn't much you can do with tennents who like to keep thier windows open all day when it's 20 degrees out. Make shure the thermoststs all work, that helps with the open
window problem.
Sid
 
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Old 03-28-12, 10:10 AM
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Boiler and burner pictures

Hey guys,

So I was told that the boiler burns about 8 gallons normally and about 16 gallons during peak operation times.

Pictures of existing #4 oil burner :









Pictures of steel boiler :





I have been doing more research and was told that I should have the exposed return lines in the basement insulated. Some are but not all of the exposed pipes are.
 
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Old 03-28-12, 06:45 PM
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Isulating the return lines are not that important but the supply pipe insulation is very important. More important is venting.
 
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Old 03-30-12, 03:55 PM
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Tuna, you are obviously using a photo hosting site the forum doesn't like, tinypic? Post your pictures on photobucket.com and the public URLs here.

Or maybe you have found a local expert and they are (hopefully) giving you the advice you need.
 
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