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    Help me ballance my 1 pipe steam Please! (13 Posts)

  • Bill Bill @ 7:42 AM
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    Help me ballance my 1 pipe steam Please!

    Thanks all for posing answers, I have posted a few times and slowly figuring out my 1 pipe steam, to give you some info..I have a 1 pipe steam with 5 radiator on the 1st floor and 5 on the 2nd, years ago a guy from this wall came from Baltimore, put big vents in my basement and told me to get adjustable hoffmans and insulate my basement pipes. I insulated my basement pipes and my 1st floor is now cold and the 2nd is to hot, yesterday i put 2 adjustable vents upstairs and put them on the lowest (slow) venting to slow down the steam to them and on my 1st floor I swapped # 40 with 3 adjustable Hoffmans and put them on the fastest vent, so now this AM, my 1st floor is a little warmer, 2 of the ratiotors seem to click on and off with steam but the one just keeps letting wet steam out, I turned it off and put a new #40 on it and it does the same thing, does not click on and off, air seems to just bleed out, so my questions are as follows
    1. The radiator that either hoffman # 40 or adjustable just keeps bleading..what do I do?
    2. My thought process of slowing down the steam to the 2nd floor and speeding it up to the 1st is right, right?
    3. My oil bills are crazy, I have used 1100 gal of oil this winter, I have a v8 Burnam installed 9 years ago, any new steam furnaces anyone reccomends? Ideas on changing over to Gas?
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 7:56 AM
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    Uneven temps

    Switching to gas would undoubtably save on fuel costs, but unfortunately your Burnham is probably not approved (by Burnham) for use with a gas burner.
    Any new boiler installation is better left to the spring.
    Try to see if all of your radiators on a given floor are getting steam at the same time. If not, then check your pressure, as lack of maintenance may have allowed the pressuretrol to become inoperative, and clogged up. Are those main vents still working as well as they did years ago. They may need a good wash, and soak with vinegar.--NBC
  • Bill Bill @ 9:13 AM
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    mains seems to venting in basement

    The big vents in the basement, gortons, seem to be still venting quick, some radiators on 2nd floor get hot all the way across but on the 1st floor only 1/2 way thus very hot upstairs and cold downstairs, that is why I put the adjustable Hoffmans on 2 of them downstairs, they now get hot all the way across but the one just keeps venting and not shuting off even though I tried 2 adjustable ones and a new #40. I would love to slow the steam down to our bedroom ones, have them only get hot 1/2 way across, I installed an hoffman adjustable one on it and sent to slow but since the 1st floor is still calling for heat it heats all the way across, any ideas? Last winter I just turned it off becaus eit was to hot. I was thinking to put adjustable ones on the 2 left on the 1st floor, thanks for any advise
    as far as a new boiler, if I go gas, any recomendations? If I have a company come quote me they allways push what they are sell vs what might be the best
  • BobC BobC @ 10:25 AM
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    Hoffmans not easy to adjust

    If the guy's name was Frank he knew exactly what he was talking about. Have you checked the pipes in the basement to be sure they have the correct slope, also check all the radiators with a level to make sure there is a slight slope towards the input pipe. Do the slow heating radiators all come off the same section of steam main? It sounds like you may have some water sitting in a pipe that is collapsing the steam that is why it's important to check all the piping in the basement.

    The Hoffman adjustable vents are not easy to adjust because the adjustment is very sloppy so it's hard to guess what the vent rate might be when you adjust them. Try using Maid O Mist 5L air vent that comes with 5 different orifices.

    http://www.amazon.com/Maid-O-Mist-0220-5L-Steam-Angle-Radiator/dp/B003DV3AGE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393687154&sr=8-1&keywords=maid+o+mist

    Use the smallest orifice in all the rooms that are too warm and larger orifices in the rooms that are cool. Be careful with the radiator in the room with the thermostat, that usually wants a slow air vent on it so it does not shut the system down to early BUT all suystems are different so you have to experiment.

    The Burnham V8 boiler is not a very long lived boiler, if it dies and they give you a new block for short money it will still cost a bundle to get it installed. I would not install another V8 block. If they offer you a deal on the megasteam that is a very good boiler but they will void your warranty if you put a gas gun on it. Your best bet would be to install a Smith or Slant Fin wet based boiler with a power gas gun (EZ Gas is one brand) on it.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @76,700 BTU, Single pipe steam


    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in


    3PSI gauge
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 10:39 AM
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    Boiler choices

    Choose a real steam expert, and go with his choice., after he has measured your radiators, to find the correct size for the new boiler, and who may know how to open the instruction manual for the boiler installation!
    I would still check your pressure and venting, as one of the causes of non-closing vents is high pressure. Do you know when the pigtail may have been cleaned out last? Often, the results of pipe insulation are an increase in pressure.--NBC
  • Bill Bill @ 2:07 PM
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    Maid o Mist Vents?

    Thanks for the info on maid of mists vents, I might order a few, are they as long lasting as Hoffman's adjustable ones? if I find water in a vent when i remove it, is that normal? Can that mess up it venting? I did find the one radiator that kept venting was pitched the wrong way, I just shimmed it and watching it now to see if the vent shuts off, are you saying my V8 could be putting water in my system and I should see if burnam will check and replace it? I have friends in homes around me and they say they are not using as much oil in a similer sized home, some are using hot water but I can't change over to hot water as I have 1 pipe steam. I did see some pitching issues in the basement but can't seem to figure out how to rise or lower one end without in being sholder hight. 
  • Bill Bill @ 3:06 PM
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    Another Question

    Looking at the Maid vents, I have 2 #40 Hoffmans brand new, can I just make the hole bigger on the top to get a radiator to vent faster? if it works stick to it? If not get more adjustable ones or these maid vents? I have 10 radiators, should I just swap out all 10 every 2 years? that $200 vs a service call?
  • BobC BobC @ 6:52 PM
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    Adjust them carefully

    The boiler can't put water into the steam pipes but the near boiler piping can, is it piped according to the diagram in the installation manual? If your in doubt post some pictures of the boiler and near boiler piping.

    I would not try drilling the Hoffman 40's out. A little water is normal as long as it does not prevent it from working, sometimes you get a bubble of water that seems to stop the vent from working and that is not good. The Hoffman #1 can get water bound at higher vent rates, they are probably best used at the low end of the range.

    If you take the hex top off the adjustable cap and remove the cap, you can see that the slop in the hole makes it all to easy to vary the vent rate because  of the slop.  Try loosening the hex adjustment and keep the cap centered as you tighten it down after setting the vent rate. Set the vents so they are at 1 making sure to keep everything centered as you tighten it up.

    Try setting them all low and then try increasing the vent rates in the rooms that seem slow to heat. Assuming the slow vents are working you might consider the Maid O Mist for the ones that need faster venting.

    Are all the horizontal pipes in the basement pitched correctly and consistently? What pressure is the boiler running at when making steam?

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @76,700 BTU, Single pipe steam


    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in


    3PSI gauge
  • Bill Bill @ 9:03 PM
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    Ordered Vents

    Bob I ordered 5 adjustable maid vents today, will know soon, yes it was some guy Frank also called himself "Steamhead" I think, he did not like my basement piping at all, instead of 2 pipes out of boiler there is just 1, the header he said was to small and yes I have some pitch issues on some pipes in basement, although I could not spend a bunch replumbing my pipes we decided to make the best of it, get air vents in basement, insulated pipes, stopped the hammer compleatly, but been dealing with a colder 1st floor and hoter 2nd floor, I now swaped out 1/2 my vents and the vent in my kitchen that seemed to fizz air all the time, I put an adjustable one on it, it seems to be better, my one in the other room seems to be venting better but has water leaking from the new vent, so I will use one of the maid vents there and see if that helps...thanks for all your help
    Bill
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 10:48 PM
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    Switching to gas

    In the spring it may be time to get the Baltimore guy over again, and have him do what needs to be done.
    Since you did not take advantage of all that he could offer, during his visit, you have not only been suffering the inefficiencies, and discomforts of an apparently improper installation, but also the higher cost of oil per therm.--NBC
    This post was edited by an admin on March 3, 2014 10:54 PM.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 11:04 PM
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    Bill, I'm drawing a blank on this one

    but if you call our office (link at bottom of this post, leave a message if we're not there) we'll be glad to come have a look. I'll probably remember when I see it.

    As far as converting that V8- yeah, I'd go ahead and do it. There is at least one person whose only presence on the Wall consists of telling people a conversion will never pass inspection- but ours do, so there's no worry.

    And thanks all for the kind words!
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    This post was edited by an admin on March 3, 2014 11:21 PM.
  • Bill Bill @ 10:01 AM
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    Spring is here and its time to figure out what to do

    Hi Steam Head, I talked to my oil company today about gas or propane, I would like to get your take on my V8 being converted to gas or replaced with a new one and the cost vs paybayback, this past winter was a bad one and we used 1388 gal of oil, please let me know how to get in touch with you or if anyone else has ideas on new boilers and saving money
    thanks
    Bill
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 4:40 PM
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    Our info is here:

    http://www.heatinghelp.com/professional/79/All-Steamed-Up-Inc

    Looking forward to hearing from you!
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
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