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Steam boiler question


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That is a coal fired shaker grate style sectional boiler that was converted to oil, which was pretty common (grates removed, burner installed through ash door, stack limit installed through clean out door). Kurt has it: there are ports cast into the top of boiler sections for a variety of reasons (flushing, inspection, etc) but they're usually plugged and covered by the tin or asbestos shell, and not seen.

Why these ports were stubbed out the side like that is another question, which you would likely have to ask the installer to know the answer to (who has probably been dead for 50 years).

Here's a boiler casting with plugged, unused ports:

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif casting_side.jpg

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One doesn't put a small pipe manifold on a steam system. That's not how they work.

I know how steam boilers work. In 30 years of inspecting I never saw one piped like that. I saw many steam boilers with hot water exchangers piped in different ways. I don't buy the flushing out theory but it's possible.

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Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif ODD STEAM BOILER.JPG

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You can see that those take-off tubes are supposedly always below the water-line at the steam dome area... that must be a 'water' take-off for some other process.. red-line being the 'low-water' point, space between green and red the 'normal' area of water level operation... The try-cock at top-l is at the 'top' of the OK zone of steam-water... Probably some industrial custom process or something..

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Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif ODD STEAM BOILER.JPG

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You can see that those take-off tubes are supposedly always below the water-line at the steam dome area... that must be a 'water' take-off for some other process.. red-line being the 'low-water' point, space between green and red the 'normal' area of water level operation... The try-cock at top-l is at the 'top' of the OK zone of steam-water... Probably some industrial custom process or something..

Like, maybe, a hot water manifold.

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Probably not. Obviously, I can't know, but I know how steam boilers are operated by the operating engineers throughout Chicago.

Springtime....drain it all down, open up the inspection ports, flush them out, flush the sill cocks, get it ready for next year. Very simple standard operations. Why do you think the inspection ports were put there in the first place?

One does not pull water off the steam boiler head to supply another system; it would totally screw up the balance, the operating temps and, how does water move by gravity through tiny pipes to someplace else without blowing (the previously mentioned) balance?

Again, I'm open to ideas, but the ideas offered so far work against how steam system work, and how those ports are utilized by people that operate these systems.

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