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Steam boiler


Neal Lewis
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This is a 40 year old American Standard gas fired cast iron steam boiler. The burn mark is below the water line and there was no leakage. The burner flames looked OK with no impingement or anything weird going on.

I'm trying to envision what the sections look like to allow that much product of combustion to escape without leaking water. I wanted to take the jacket off right then and there.

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Originally posted by Neal Lewis

I'm trying to envision what the sections look like to allow that much product of combustion to escape without leaking water. I wanted to take the jacket off right then and there.

It's much more common to have leaks that allow gases to escape between sections than water leaks at the push nipples. Do you ever see leaks at the push nipples of radiators? Contractors used to carry Kaowool rope and use a chinking chisel to reseal the sections. Now they just sell you a new boiler.

Why not open the sheet metal? I had a 35 year old steel oil boiler today that was just serviced and "certified" on Oct. 4th. I removed one side of the jacket to show that the domestic coil gasket had been leaking for at least a decade. They need a new boiler.

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Originally posted by inspecthistoric

It's much more common to have leaks that allow gases to escape between sections than water leaks at the push nipples. Do you ever see leaks at the push nipples of radiators?

Never seen a push nipple leak. I thought they all, more or less, "welded" themselves together w/rust after several years; that's why you can never get them apart, no?

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Originally posted by kurt

I'll bet it's the insulation & interior jacket that's burnt out, simply due to age.

Common around here with dry base boilers, not so common with a wet base. The target wall insulation drops or cracks and the flame burns out the back wall. Not cheap to repair and throws off a wicked amount of heat when the boiler is operating. That burn pattern is not consistent with gas burners, but with an oil burner. Could the boiler have been converted to gas? Is the new concrete hiding the old oil lines?

And, P.S. Is the plywood wall on the side too close to the boiler?

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Originally posted by ghentjr

Common around here with dry base boilers, not so common with a wet base. The target wall insulation drops or cracks and the flame burns out the back wall. Not cheap to repair and throws off a wicked amount of heat when the boiler is operating. That burn pattern is not consistent with gas burners, but with an oil burner.

You know, I never thought about it, but you're right. I'm not aware of any old AS boiler that's wet base; are there any?

I thought wet base were usually big old nasty types like old Kewaunees, or like the one in my Mom's house that was mfg. in South Bend around the turn of the last century(?).

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Didn't American Standard use a foil fiberglass piece of insulation abt 1/2" thick on sides that nearly always falls off? Pattern does not seem to indicate any flame contact, just high heat.

Bill and Kurt, most of the guys likely don't know what a push nipple is. The young guys likely thing it is a procedure done prior to ring attachment.

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You guys keep talking about new concrete. None of the sweat joints are new and there's staining in the corner on the right.

I'd bet the back of the target is gone as John said and has been converted to a 'gun' style inshot gas burner.

BTW John, I met your son at Photovoltaic training near Albany. I enjoyed his company very much...tell him I said hello.

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Originally posted by Les

Didn't American Standard use a foil fiberglass piece of insulation abt 1/2" thick on sides that nearly always falls off? Pattern does not seem to indicate any flame contact, just high heat.

That's what I'm talking about; that foil faced stuff that falls apart.

Bill and Kurt, most of the guys likely don't know what a push nipple is. The young guys likely thing it is a procedure done prior to ring attachment.

I've got (at least) a half dozen filthy bad comments about what a push nipple might be. Much more fun than section push nipples.

Push nipples were beveled pipe nipples that held the sections together; the bevel was calculated to allow the sections to slide together, then seal due to compression of the bevel on the section. (Did I say that right?)

Push nipple radiators have those threaded rods holding it all together. Supposedly, you can cut the threaded rods apart and pull out the push nipples, but I've never seen it. Everything is always rusted together & conjoined after a century of steam.

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The boiler was manufactured about 1965 for natural gas and was never converted from oil. The burn pattern does suggest it is oil and that the refractory liner is gone, but that's not the case.

The only conversion in this house seemed to be from coal directly to gas.

The staining on the floor is from me demonstrating the low water cutoff and getting water on the floor.

There were piles of rust on the floor under the burners, so the boiler has seen better days.

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