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    Early 1900s vapor vacuum system knowledge? (7 Posts)

  • ShawnG ShawnG @ 7:59 PM
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    Early 1900s vapor vacuum system knowledge?

    I have a vapor vacuum system. It's perhaps a 100 years old. No one at the repair company knows how to fix it. They told me this knowlege died with the folks who put them in We recently ran out of oil and the trouble began. One whole wing of the house won't heat up. Does anyone have knowledge of these systems? Or know someone in ct who might be able to help me?
    Thank you.
    Shawn
  • Jamie Hall Jamie Hall @ 8:23 PM
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    Dead men rule!

    Your system is only slightly older than mine.  That said, it is not true at all that that knowledge died out with the dead men.  It's alive and well and on this site and among the very fine professionals who frequent this site.

    First thing to do is to order Dan's books on steam heat -- found in the "shop" tab on the header.  These will help you learn what your system is supposed to be like -- and, if you have trouble finding a pro, may help you educate someone less fortunate.

    On the subject of a pro, I myself use Charles Garrity; I know that he covers Connecticut.  It may well be, though, that there are other professionals who might be nearer to you (where in Connecticut are you?) -- there are several very fine folks in New York, for instance, who might come that far.  And I'm sure there are others -- use the "Find a Professional" tab on the header, and search by state; be sure to search not just Connecticut, but New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island as well.

    There.  Now.  You ran out of oil and now you have a wing which won't heat?  Odd.  I presume it heated just fine before?  Since there's precious little that can go wrong with a vapour vacuum system... I honestly can't think why running out of oil would make it quit heating.  Unless... was it, by any chance, off long enough that something might have frozen?  Even then, I can see that that could shut off one radiator, but a whole wing?

    Let me ask: does the steam main going to that wing get warm at all?  Can you trace along it to see where it stops getting hot?

    More information would be helpful, and perhaps a sketch...
    Jamie

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • ShawnG ShawnG @ 8:34 PM
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    Help at last.

    Thank you so much for responding. I am in New Canaan. My plumber figured out where the pipes stopped heating and it's right before it gets to the wing that won't warm up. It's a rambling farm house. Oddly, a radiator in the back hall has some life, but the rest is cold. It has worked fine except needing new motor and exhaust pipe. It was empty for many years, so I don't know what kind of maintenance was done. The plumber felt that the empty oil tank might have caused sludge to get into pipes.
    Shawn
  • Jamie Hall Jamie Hall @ 10:04 PM
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    Could be any one of a number

    of problems -- although sludge in the pipes doesn't seem likely.  That could definetly give trouble with the oil burner itself, but not likely the steam.

    There really are too many things that could cause the problem(s) -- hard to diagnose over the 'net.  I would recommend -- unless you are really into do it yourself! -- that you contact Charles Garrity -- look under Massachusetts, then Lenox Dale, in Find a Contractor, as I don't have his number handy at the moment, and see if he'd be willing to come take a look.

    Somewhere in there there is a restriction, though -- steam will only go when the air can get out, and can't go through water.  But if it was working before the oil ran out, and doesn't now... I'm still puzzled. 
    Jamie

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    This post was edited by an admin on February 11, 2013 10:05 PM.
  • Charlie from wmass Charlie from wmass @ 9:52 AM
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    Hi Jamie Hope you dug out of the snow by now.

    my cell number is 413-841-6726.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.
    cell # 413-841-6726
  • Jamie Hall Jamie Hall @ 12:22 PM
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    I'm dug out enough

    so that I can get the cars in and out -- and me in and out -- and the oil truck can get in.  The essentials.  The rest of it?  Spring is coming!

    I'm going to post your cell number in large print somewhere where I can find it quickly -- not for me so much, but for situations like this!
    Jamie

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Mad Dog Mad Dog @ 5:06 AM
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    Looks like you found your man.....

    Very few who REALLY know Vapor....but you will find them here. Mad Dog
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