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Posted by Ryan on November 16, 2005 at 17:55:11:
I recently bought a house with a single pipe steam system. The boiler was replaced 3 years ago with a new gas-fire Weil-McLain and the near-boiler piping was also replaced. The company that did it did not reinsulate these main 3-4" pipes, and they get HOT. There is another 20' or so of uninsulated piping in the basement and 20+ feet in a crawlspace. The local supplier around wants $4/ft for the straight pre-fab stuff for 2" . I didn't dare ask about the larger stuff for near-boiler. Anyhow, this seems overly pricey to me.
Question(s): Would using standard PINK fiberglass insulation wrapped around the pipes nice and thick cause problems? I have plenty of the stuff left over from insulating the formerly uninsulated attic. Plus, the pre-fab junk doesn't do bends, and that's a lot of heat right there too. I plan to wrapover the existing asbestos/wrap with it anyhow, to make sure no more of it degrades and falls away.
Also, is there any fathomable reason to insulate the wet return(s)? I can't think of any.
Finally, the only main vent I can find is a newish Hoffman #4 in the same room as the boiler--probably actually a pressure vent, as I can't ever hear it doing squat, and an old DOA Dole #1 on the 1" wet return. Any reason *NOT* to stick a few Hoffman 75s at the far reaches of the system to quiet down the radiator vents (and improve steam delivery)? Any real problems that could arise by putting them in the wrong spot/using too many other than the cost of the vent itself? I want to use two, most likely, one at the far end of the main loop to the front of the house, and another at the back, where the loop returns to feed 3 more radiators. The radiator with the shortest run to the boiler (on its own pipe off the main) currently sounds like a tea kettle if the boilder really starts cranking. The rads at the end of the main loop (which seems to do a "U" under the house) hardly get hot.
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