Re: New Steam boiler, System now very noisy

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Posted by Joe Howell on October 26, 2001 at 10:42:46:

In Reply to: New Steam boiler, System now very noisy posted by Mark Estes on October 26, 2001 at 05:10:59:

: I recently had my steam boiler replaced. The origional was a burnham 220,000btu, replaced with a burnham 210,000btu. I also had all of the asbestos insulation removed from the basement steam pipes. The system is now very noisy, many bangs and gurguling sounds, also water now gurguls out of the steam vent on the return line in the basement. Is there something wrong with the installation? Should I reinstall insulation in the basement? Please help, this d#*%n thing is keeping me up at nite. THANKS

I would replace the insulation on the basement pipes for sure. In my mind this would be even more critical if the basement is not heated. Without the insulation, the steam pipes in the basement are acting like your radiators. Therefore, the steam is condensing in the mains before it even reaches the radiators which of course is where you want it. Also, remember that the driving force for heat transfer is the temperature difference between the cold and hot surfaces (delta T some call it). Right now you have a very hot surface (steam side , 215 F) and a cold surface (basement ambient air side) which is a very large driving force for heat transfer. Adding the insulation will reduce this driving force and hopefully yoursteam wil not condense in the pipes. Remember you are trying to condense the steam at the radiators, no where else.

Also, as the other knowledgeable gentleman said, look at the steam pressure and piping. If the steam pressure (at the boiler)is to high the condensate will have to back up in a very high vertical column to overcome the boiler pressure in order to return properly. If your lowest horizontal pipe is not very high above the boiler water level, your condensate may be getting back into the mains. Remember the fact that you need a specific vertical water column height to overcome the boiler pressure for the condensate to drain. Also, since all of your steam is condensing before it gets to the radiators, you do not have any "leftover" steam pressure to help drive the condensate back to the returns.

One final comment. How did the contractor size for the new unit. Did he calcualte the existing EDR square feet, and then us the appropriate Pickup Factor. I am asking because I am thinking about changing my boiler for a new one.

Please do not take this as coming from an expert. This is based on my own personal experience with my steam system.

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