steam boiler-strange pattern


Old 01-15-13, 09:32 PM
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Angry steam boiler-strange pattern

Anyone out there who can help me? I have a plumber who installed a burnham steam boiler(the old boiler BTU was 210,000 but the new boiler is only 175,000) for me in Nov but he didn't do any cleaning for us after the installation. Therefore the first month of November and early December I drained all the water out of the boiler and it came out to be dark water and then put in new fresh water. We have been doing this for 4-5 times. Then late December the water came out much better, with a slightly light rusty water and small tiny black particles.

However the boiler follows a strange pattern after every full drain, the first 3-4 days, the boiler was quiet and doing fine(first floor and second floor are getting heat for all rooms. Third floor 's living room has heat and the bedrooms are getting little bit of heat) Then starting day 5 the water level in the glass gauge drops from 75% to 50%(it also bounces too. Every floor gets heat and third floor bedrooms are getting heat too), then day 6 it drops to 25%(more bounces), then day 7 it drops to bottom of the glass gauge with tiny trace of water when it runs(every floor gets heat). Somehow the water level in the glass gauge restores to its normal level when the boiler stops completely.

Two weeks ago, I turned my presstrol gauge from 5PSI to 2PSI and the differ from 1.55 to 1.5PSI. The third floor's living room(where the thermostat sits) was not getting heat for over 3 hours while the third floor bedrooms were getting lots of heat. Therefore I turned off the boiler and changed the PSI to the prior setting. However the third floor livingroom was not as hot(became the last radiator to receive heat) as it used to while third floor bedrooms were getting lots of heat. I wonder how come it is not getting heat in the living room after restoring it to prior setting? Then 5 days ago, I did another full drain out of the boiler then the pattern repeats again. Back in December I told the plumber that if the problem with the boiler been resolved then I will pay him the last hundred dollars in early Jan..Two days ago he called for $ I told him that I am going to call another plumber to check out his work. He told me that I am making a fuss out of it. However who wants to drain water out of the steam boiler every week? I really hope there is an explaination for it. I am getting frustrated about it because he is taking advantage of me. He is a friend's friend's husband. I really want to write a complaint against his license. There are many wrong things that he did and also very unprofessional way which I am not going to say here. Thank you!
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Old 01-16-13, 06:52 AM
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Sounds like its surging. Try putting a conditioner in such as Squick. That will clean up the system and stop the surging. There's probably a trace of oil left over in the boiler from manufacturing which is causing it to act like that.
Old 01-16-13, 07:17 AM
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Yes, maybe it needs skimming, but also maybe it's not installed properly either.

Take and post a number of pictures showing the piping all around the boiler and we can look at and advise.
Old 01-16-13, 04:55 PM
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By the way, this book will be a tremendous help to you. It's not all technical mumbo-jumbo, it's written for the HOMEOWNER and is a very good read. It's the best $25 you could spend on your heating system.

Heating Help

I turned my presstrol gauge from 5PSI to 2PSI and the differ from 1.55 to 1.5PSI
There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON that you should need 5 PSI of steam to heat your home. TWO PSI is probably more than enough. That book will explain why. If you need 5 PSI, then something is terribly wrong with your piping or vents, and the extra fuel you are burning will kill your pocketbook in a hurry!

Did you know that they heat the entire Empire State Building with only 9 PSI ?

The book will also help you to tell the difference between a KNUCKLEHEAD and a STEAMHEAD (one who KNOWS steam!) You need to find someone who knows what he's doing to straighten out what ever pickle your friend of a friend's husband has gotten you into.

And please post those pics, we can help you if you do.
Old 01-16-13, 09:15 PM
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From the limited experience I have with steam....
Steam boilers are sized based on the amount of radiation in the system, i.e. the # of sg feet of rads.

Going to a smaller boiler for that given amount of rads can lead to big problems.
You may also want to get a timed blow down installed to purge out any crap that builds up in the system.

I have not done much steam, but when I come across steam stuff I tend to listen hard. Steam is a dying art.

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