lic. #22183

O.A.C. Bldg. Steam Refit

Owners Apartment Co. Building - Steam Refit
 
 
This job had many facets and many pictures that require explanations, so UTILIZE THE LINKS to view the pictures.
 
We were called in to this apartment building because they had very high gas consumption, which of course resulted in very high gas bills. The first thing that we did was to conduct a system survey to get an overview of the system's deficiencies and also to identify the systems maker/designer. This is important information, as knowing who made the system provides huge insight into how it is supposed to look and operate. We have to remember that today, there has been many people putting there mark on a system either for better or worse.
 
Once we identified areas that could use improvement we commenced our work.
 
We identified the system as a two pipe Warren Webster vapor system.
 
First we replaced a Tekmar 269 steam control that had its cover broken by an unhappy tenant with a new control. Its the same design, a Tekmar 269 steam control. This time its installed in a steel lock box so that no one can tamper with it. The original control never had any indoor sensors to provide feedback to the control and also had its steam established sensor set at 130 degrees but erroneously installed on the return pipe back in the boiler room. Since this sensor activates the timing sequence its imperative it be placed where it can actually sense a temperature rise. We corrected these items by installing four indoor sensors in a manner that they average inside temperature and installed the steam established sensor in a proper location so that it can effectively do its job.
 
A vapor system should operate in ounces of pressure, but this system was being run in pounds of pressure. This just wastes energy. We removed the controls that allowed the boiler to operate in pounds and installed vaporstats that keep the system operating in ounces. There is also a low fire gas valve that wasn't being triggered to operate properly. An extra vaporstat was added to trigger this low fire gas valve if the pressure starts to rise to many ounces.
 
At some point in the buildings history, the wet returns were made dry, and a condensate tank installed in the system. There were a quantity of float & thermostatic traps at the ends of the mains and various mid points. These were all very old Sarco traps. Remember, it was a Warren Webster system. We suspect the Sarco f&t traps were added when the conversion from coal to gas took place. We knew these traps either had to be rebuilt or replaced. What we did instead was to remove the f&t traps, restore the wet return pipes by building a false waterline in the boiler room, and removing the condensate tank. We added massive air venting capability to the system by installing 15 Gorton #2 main vents.
 
The boiler thats installed there is only two years old. There was some issues with water level control in the boiler. We noticed the mechanical water feeder was installed to high on the column. What we did was to remove it and replace it with a standard float low water cut off and a separate digital water feeder that has a digital water meter display. This way water intake to the boiler can be monitored.
 
Did we save them money? you bet!!
 
They just received their January 2008 gas bill and it was 5 degrees COLDER outside than the previous January. And they used over 100,000 cubic feet of gas LESS! Thats over a thousand dollars saved in one month.
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