American Radiator & Standard Sanitary Corporation - Oakmont radiator

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Old 12-28-17, 11:28 AM
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American Radiator & Standard Sanitary Corporation - Oakmont radiator

Hello,

Looking for someone that might know history on the boiler we are using.

We have this in our basement. The house is 100 years old, there is a coal chute and a place for fuel oil. The Boiler is now natural gas. I believe it has been converted from coal to Fuel Oil to Natural gas.

Does anyone have any idea how old this is? I am thinking it has to be close to 100 years old. Steam is a great heat, but it is expensive running this.

I was told it is probably less than 50% efficiency and it would run about $15k to replace with a new boiler and new piping.

Anyways thanks for taking a look and if you have any information it would be neat to know. Thanks again and Happy New Year!
 
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Old 12-28-17, 11:32 AM
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I was able to find this in reference to the oakmont.
 
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Old 12-28-17, 02:57 PM
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You definitely have a gas conversion burner meaning it was likely oil-fired before the gas. It MAY have been coal-fired but I kind of doubt it. I suspect the original coal-burning boiler was replaced with an oil-fired boiler in the late 1930s to early 1950s with this unit and then it was converted to gas in the 1960s or later. I seriously doubt it is the original boiler and probably no older than 75 years, more likely significantly less.

One of the reasons why it is expensive to operate is because it IS steam. You have to heat the water until it turns to steam before you get any heat distribution whatsoever. The amount of additional heat that needs to be added to water at 212 degrees to change it to steam at 212 degrees is 970.3 BTUs per pound (weight) of water. That's over 7,000 BTUs per gallon of water. That translates to more gas needing to be burned and higher stack temperatures which equate to higher stack losses.

There is a reason why the only residential steam is in 100 year old homes.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 03:17 AM
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"WOW" what a beautiful piece of equipment. I haven't seen one of these cast iron monsters in 20+ years. These boilers were made to fire only soft coal with no regard for efficiency. They did the job very well. The gas conversion burner that is installed could be could be any age , but is definitely pre 1960. Looking at the pictures I see that this is a steam system. I always loved steam, that was most of my profession. If you are thinking of replacing this boiler with a new one make sure that the company you choose has a couple old guys working there and that they know steam and can size the new boiler for steam. Steam is a different animal and almost nobody in the heating business understands it or knows how to size or install it correctly. Happy New Year and lots of luck.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 04:08 AM
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Thank you for the feedback!

The house has been in my wife's family since it was built 100+ years ago. We have a slate roof that might be original too...
We did remove the asbestos insulation and replaced it.

Steam is a good heat for sure...especially when you come in the house from negative temperatures like we have been having.

Have a happy new year!
 
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Old 12-29-17, 11:22 AM
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d,
With all due respect to Steamboy these boilers were made for oil. They came with an Arcoflame burner.

They were pretty common in my area when I started back in 77. They had stopped making them by then or at least nobody was installing them anymore but there were plenty around and they worked fine.

As the oil prices went up people were converting to gas instead of putting in upgraded oil burners which turned out to be costly to run in this situation.

The boiler has a high water content and coupled with a cooler flame(gas) made for very long run times and higher fuel bills and in some cases where larger homes were involved, wouldn't produce enough steam to properly heat the house.

The gas company didn't care because they were getting their pound of flesh, getting people away from oil and using gas.

By the time people realized their mistake they had gotten rid of the oil tank and were committed to gas. To go back to oil without great expense of a new tank and even a replacement burner, they just installed a new gas boiler, which is what the gas company counted on.

Just my experience with these gas conversion burners on high water content steam boilers.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 04:49 PM
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dear spott

Please spare me. A burner firing at 100,000 BTU's whether the fuel is natural gas, kerosene, #2 fuel oil, #4, #5 or even #6 fuel oil all heat the water at the same rate. I have heard all about the increased flame temperature of oil fires and find that is all bunk. These boilers were made to fire mostly soft coal. I did not say that you could not fire them with nat gas or fuel oil, it is that there were very few flue passes to utilize the burner flame and boiler efficiency dropped. Coal has a high radiant heat when burning that is utilized by the first surface the radiant flame touches. When it became apparent that the general public wanted the convenience of an on/off burner these and all boilers could be shipped with a burner that could be used with the fuel of your choice. Lastly, the high water content of these old steam boilers was needed if they were to be used on steam systems and especially 1 pipe steam systems. These gravity return systems need a lot of usable water between steam production and condensate return water production as you find out when a large boiler is replaced with a new high efficiency steam boiler. I could go on, but why, this is not a school room forum.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 07:38 PM
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SteamBOY,

Flame temperatures of common gases and fuels
Gas / Fuels
Flame temperature
Methane (natural gas) in air
1950 °XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Propane with oxygen
2800 °C 5072 °F

The tests clearly established that both coarse and fine particulate matter invariably occurred with low flame temperatures but decreased appreciably when peak flame temperatures reached approximately 2650°F; Minimum values were observed at temperatures somewhere between 2750 and 2850°F.XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Flame Temperature in Oil-Fired Fuel-Burning Equipment

What is your definition of bunk.

You are going to get your wish since it's Christmas and this is my gift to you. I am going to spare you since after reading some of your posts it seems we disagree on things.

This is a DIY site and we're here to help if possible, not to attack or air personal opinions of one another. I sincerely believe you are here to help and it's not your fault if you have limited knowledge.

I don't agree with some of your statements so as not to confuse the issues I just chose not to get involved but unfortunately like a child you cannot control yourself and show us how much you really don't know.

As far as the boiler goes if you would have read past the first line of my post which seems to be your MO you would see I said this was my, and only my experience with these units, and my experience has been they came from the factory with ARCOFLAME OIL BURNERS installed.

If you google the burner name or American Standard boilers you may find some information.

One of the other posts already have found something in case you want to look at it instead of babbling about things you know nothing about.

Happy New Year.

Hope this helps a little.

My apologies to all others who had to endure this rant.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 07:48 PM
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I have to agree with Steamboy concerning the so-called "lower temperature" of a gas flame. Those old boilers had a much greater amount of radiant heating surface than they did of convective heating surface, just the opposite of a modern boiler. The radiant heat of a bed of coal on the grates OR of a luminous oil flame was much better suited for this radiant heating surface than a "blue flame" gas burner. Some gas burners had multiple jets, essentially a large number of individual burners, that covered the grate area and these did better than did an "in-shot" conversion burner. I once tended to a boiler rated at 1.5 million BTUs/hr. that had, as I recall, about 100 jets.

Large volumes of water make any hydronic (hot water or steam) system operate better in my opinion but again I agree with Steamboy that high mass is essential for a one-pipe steam system. The biggest "problem" with a large volume system is with overall system response time. It takes a longer time to heat that mass of water BUT it also takes a longer time for that mass of water to cool to the point where it no longer is releasing usable heat.

Almost all of my experience with steam heating has been with two-pipe systems. I far prefer high mass systems to the low mass systems of today.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 07:54 PM
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My previous post was before reading Spott's rant.

FLAME TEMPERATURE has very little to do with how fast a particular unit will heat. It DOES have to do with many other things, including COMBUSTION efficiencies and production of nitrogen oxides. HEAT RELEASE, measured in BTUs per hour, is the proper commodity in determining how fast a unit will heat.

Heat is NOT the same as temperature. A lit match has a much higher temperature than a pound of ice but the ice has a much greater amount of heat than the burning match.
 
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