Switching from a steam boiler to a hotwater boiler!
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    339

    Switching from a steam boiler to a hotwater boiler!

    How much trouble will it be to convert a old steam gravitiy return system to a hot water boiler system? I really don't mess with boilers to much as far as installing them on a regular but I do alot of service work on them. I have a cutomer who wants this done and just want to know is it more trouble than I need to get into.

    I did install one before but that was basiclly was a slip in meaning a perfect replacement for the old one with little piping changing needed.

    I'm tired of subbing this type of work out and pretty much loosing money on these type of jobs when I could make all the profit myself !! I'm not totally dumb on this it's just I don't get alot of boiler work and when I do I just sub it out.

    I'm ready to tackle this project and would like some input!

    Thanks

    P.S

    I'ts a old house!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    Posts
    310
    Is it one pipe or two pipe steam? This may be best left to experience as it can be a real headache. If two pipe steam are the returns from the radiators large enough or must they be resized? Is it a wet or dry return? Should the wet return be replaced...Yes. Can the system hold 12 psi without leaking. Are the radsa connected at the top with push nipples. Is there plugs for the hot water vents?
    For more info see the following link.
    http://www.comfort-calc.net/Steam_To...onversion.html

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    339
    Quote Originally Posted by rbeck View Post
    Is it one pipe or two pipe steam? This may be best left to experience as it can be a real headache. If two pipe steam are the returns from the radiators large enough or must they be resized? Is it a wet or dry return? Should the wet return be replaced...Yes. Can the system hold 12 psi without leaking. Are the radsa connected at the top with push nipples. Is there plugs for the hot water vents?
    For more info see the following link.
    http://www.comfort-calc.net/Steam_To...onversion.html
    It look like a two pipe system with very old fin tubes where as the steam trap is at the bottom and what every the condensate is made is return by a 1/2 in pipe. I'm used to seeing 3/4 connected to a 2 1/2 in main return line. I know I will have to leak check the system but does that mean I would have to open the walls also to check for leaks? The more I think about it I might just sub this job out. You know what they say all money not good money!! LOL!!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    Posts
    310
    1/2" pipe will carry between 15000 and 17,000 btu's. They may be OK depending on the size of the radiator.
    I would get used to installing water boilers before I try converting an old steam system. Maybe work with some boiler guys as a helper for a small paycheck to learn boilers. It is a wonderful field to learn. HYDRONICS ROCK!!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    363
    Quote Originally Posted by cook42 View Post
    How much trouble will it be to convert a old steam gravitiy return system to a hot water boiler system?
    Unless you like to fix water leaks stick with the steam. If you have a steam system installed CORRECTLY and MAINTAINED it can be very economical.

    Keep this in mind the average steam system residentially is usually designed to operate with no more than 2 psi. If you change to hot water you are going to be operating somewhere in the 15 to 18 psi range. Thats like 8 times the pressure it is used to and then consider the age of the piping involved. You said its an old house so the piping is probably just as old.

    If you want my opinion go over to heatinghelp.com get "The Art of Steam Heating." You will learn a good deal just reading that book. Steam heat is not that hard at all if you put some effort into it. With a little work you can get this steam system back into good working order and put in a new boiler and everyone will be happy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    339
    Thanks! for the info guy's a matter of fact the person I be sub-ing the work to is very good in boiler work and I think if I do the job I will work with him on the project to get some reps. Like I said I do a lot of forced air,rooftop install's and I need to do more boiler install because I the revenue I'm missing!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    339
    Quote Originally Posted by rbeck View Post
    Is it one pipe or two pipe steam? This may be best left to experience as it can be a real headache. If two pipe steam are the returns from the radiators large enough or must they be resized? Is it a wet or dry return? Should the wet return be replaced...Yes. Can the system hold 12 psi without leaking. Are the radsa connected at the top with push nipples. Is there plugs for the hot water vents?
    For more info see the following link.
    http://www.comfort-calc.net/Steam_To...onversion.html
    That was excellent!!! I might print this out to the customer or is this too much info for him to have? Don't want to begiving any trade secrets!!! LOL!!!

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