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Rick
Rick, HVAC Supervisor
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 13124
Experience:  40+ yrs. experience as a licensed oil & gas technician.
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when my new steam boiler (Burnham MEGA sTEAM mST-396) was installed

Resolved Question:

when my new steam boiler (Burnham MEGA sTEAM mST-396) was installed and tested the contractor turned my thermostat up as far as it would go and blasted the steam into my pipes at full force. This resulted in two broker radiator valves and a broken pipe. Is the typical way of starting the system and could these damages been avoided?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Rick replied 2 years ago.

Rickheatdoc :

Welcome to Just Answer, I will do my best to help you with your problem

Rickheatdoc :

Turning up the thermostat as far as it will go won't make the boiler "blast" steam into the system. It's much more likely that the pressuretrol (pressure control) is set too high. We typically set it so that the pressure never gets above 3 psi. Anything over 5 psi can damage the air valves.

Rickheatdoc :

Steam actually move faster at lower pressures so nothing is to be gained by setting pressures above 3 psi

Customer:

So if the contractor set the pressure control initially higher than 3psi it could have resulted in this damage? It seems that he was trying to "blow out " any sediment or blockage in the existing old system in doing what he did. I was told that a more prudent manner of dealing with this would be to run a mixture of TSP and water through the system Is this correct? How can I tell if the system is currently set at the proper psi?

Rickheatdoc :

You don't "blow out the sediment" with steam pressure. This indicates to me that your installer is not familiar with steam systems. The only likely place sediment is likely to be a problem is at the boiler itself and all that gunk gets tossed when the old boiler is ripped out

Rickheatdoc :

Rarely there are return lines (called wet returns) that may get clogged with sediment but these are rare and neither excessive pressure or TSP will clear "mud" in a wet return

Rickheatdoc :

A wet return is a return line that runs along the floor below the water level of the boiler

Rickheatdoc :

You can check your pressuretrol setting to see if it is adjusted properly

Rickheatdoc :

It would look like this

Full Size Image

Rickheatdoc :

or this

Rickheatdoc :

Full Size Image

Rickheatdoc :

I need to know which type you have before I can tell you if it's set properly

Rickheatdoc :

do you have the grey one that's a metal control box or the one with the clear plastic front

Customer:

clear plastic front

Rickheatdoc :

Ok, the scale on the right (says Main at the top) should be set to 3 and the scale on the left (Diff) should be set to 2

Customer:

It is. Is it possible when they initially started it it was set at a higher psi resulting in the damage to the radiators and then adjusted the setting downward. Would someone unfamiliar with installing this type of high efficiency boiler make that kind of miscalculation? This was suppose to be a one day install but they said they weren't expecting it to arrive in so many parts so it took two days for them to install and then a third day to correct the damage

Rickheatdoc :

I can't say what an inexperienced installer would do. I suspect they could certainly be capable of such a mistake. It's quite possible that once they encountered the damage caused at start up they talked to someone who knew what they were doing and go some decent advice based on your current settings. A typical replacement takes about a day depending on the complexity of the system

Rickheatdoc :

Unless they got the boiler "knocked down" the Mega Steam has no more parts than any other steam boiler.

Rickheatdoc :

Knocked down is basically a bare cast iron block. We would only order one this way if it was very difficult to get into the house

Customer:

They performed a manual J inspection of all my radiators as required by the energy program i was using to secure a no interest loan to pay for the system They also had complete acess to y hoe and reviewed the current system to formulate their bid. Isn't it reasonable to assume if there were any existing problems with the pipes or valves they would have been uncovered and addressed preliminarily?

Rickheatdoc :

The short answer is yes but they should have been dealt with as part of the install

Rickheatdoc :

There is no way any steam pressure generated by that boiler could cause a pipe to break unless the pipe was badly corroded to start with

Customer:

and that pipe was visible in my basement and therefore it is reasonable to expect that it's replacement would have been included in the original assessment of the 70 year old boiler system they were replacing. They then could have included this in the specs and description of work to be perfomed on the proposal form. Correct?

Rickheatdoc :

That would be a reasonable assumption. Occasionally a piped can wear out internally and show no external signs of damage but that's the exception to the rule and this is almost always happens at the piping near the boiler which should be changed anyway as part of the replacement.

Rickheatdoc :

do you have any more questions?

Customer:

No Thank you you've been very helpful. Do I get a copy of our dialogue today?

Rickheatdoc :

You're welcome

If you want to print a copy you'll have to copy and paste the text into a Word doc and print that. You will probably have to do it in sections since the dialogue box won't scroll when you highlight the text

Please hit accept
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Rick, HVAC Supervisor
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 13124
Experience: 40+ yrs. experience as a licensed oil & gas technician.
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