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Help improving efficiency of a two loop single pipe system

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Posted by Jeff in Groton, CT on December 03, 2008 at 08:27:03:

I have an old (not sure how old, but old) American Standard A-3 1B J1 Series Boiler on a two loop, single pipe steam system.

Below is as much info I could come up with.


The dataplate reads:
208 Valve Cap. Min. Lb/hr
208 Gross Output
650 Sq. Ft. Steam
108.9 Water MBh
2.00 Gal/hr

It has a honeywell pressure controller (PA404A 1009 1) that reads 0.5 for cut in and a Beckett Model A oil burner (newer than the boiler but not new) with a 1.0 gph nozzle.

I have 3" main lines outbound coming back as 2" lines insulated with fiberglass (asbestos removed a few years ago.) Although I haven't had a chance to insulate the elbows yet (work, kids, work, work, work...) One loop is approx. 75' and has a Dole Quick Vent Air Valve #4; the other is 50' and has a Gorton #1 air vent. They feed 12 radiators in a 110 year old, 3 story, 3000 sq. ft. home.

I had previously posted and heatpro recommended I replace the air vents which I am looking for now(again, work, kids,work). Both are getting hot but it seems like an awful long time before the heat gets to them (40-60 minutes).

My oil company estimates the efficiency at 80-81%, which I have trouble believing and have an independent energy audit company coming out to take a look.

Now my questions...

How long should it take from when the boiler fires up to when the mains are hot to the vents? Or until the radiator are hot?

How much will relining the burn chamber with a "wet blanket" improve or decrease my efficiency? My oil company recommended it but I am sceptical because they cannot even manage to keep oil in the tank (I've had them for 5 years and if I don't vigilenty monitor the oil level I will run out 3x per winter even though I am on autodelivery). What other options are there?

Are there any other ways you can recommend (short of replacing the boiler which I don't have the cash to do now) that a moderately handy homeowner can do?

Any suggestions/recommendations are welcome and I can email a picture of the boiler if you need it.



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