Joined on November 24, 2007
Last Post on December 8, 2013
@ January 27, 2010 11:30 PM in cold radstime to check all the aspects of the system, to find the source of the problem:
1. check your pressure-should be under 1.5 psi [under 12 ounces for saving money].
2. check the main venting [the air has to get out for the steam to do its job].
3. check the thermostat for anticipation.
4. check whatever has changed since last season.
5. check back here.--nbc
@ January 27, 2010 11:22 PM in end of main vent(s)i don't think that the dry/wet return will have to be changed because of the EDR of the system, as only the steam-carrying pipes are effected. you could certainly put the vent on the horizontal [mounted up as high as your ceiling allows]. that nipple could be easily removed with the classic "thread-collapse" treatment, with a hacksaw cut through the pipe close to the fittings on both ends. then the stubs, sticking out of the fittings [1/4 in.] can be cut from inside towards the threads of the fitting , very carefully so as to weaken the remains of the pipe, without cutting into the threads of the fitting, and to enable its collapse using a hammer and punch. i have a few bracelets left over from that operation still hanging on the wall!
don't skimp on the main venting. if you think you need a gorton #1, then get a #2. remember, you can never have too much venting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! just as your pressure can almost never be too low.--nbc
@ January 27, 2010 7:40 PM in New P trol settingswe all learned by doing, and loved every [sometimes frustrating] minute, just as you are now!
a pro can never be around your system as much as you are; and so could never do what you will be able to do: observe and investigate. keep up the learning curve!--nbc
@ January 27, 2010 7:54 AM in Insulating near-boiler pipinghow do you know that your system is barely adequate?
definitely insulate. do a search here for insulation to find various supplier recommendations, or you may have a local supplier. the straight pipes are the most important, and you can do the fittings later. if cost is an issue, fiberglass batts can be wrapped and taped around as a temporary solution.
while you are spending quality time with your boiler, check the main [not rad] venting. extremely capacious venting will get the air out, and the steam up to your radiators sooner, especially if your pressure is as low as possible. a good low-pressure gauge will show you what your pressure is [gaugestore.com 0-2 psi].--nbc
@ January 25, 2010 7:20 PM in What questions to aski would suggest getting the steam perfect, then installing mini-split air conditioners.
a number of manufacturers make these units, so you can choose the make which is best supported in your area. another advantage would be that the installation could be staged so as not to break the bank.--nbc
@ January 24, 2010 1:18 AM in can I regulate steam boiler...the manufacturer of your boiler may have as an option, a high-low-high burner. this would usually be controlled by a vaporstat to keep the pressure at just a few ounces, by switching the burner back and forth between high and low. typically, the boiler would start in high, and when the primary cut-out pressure had been obtained, the burner would switch to low fire.at least this would be a setup approved by the company who made the boiler.
for instance, peerless list a "mod-u-pac" option to do that, and i am sure others do as well--nbc
@ January 24, 2010 1:09 AM in No heat in 2 bedrooms, little in 1what sort of heating system do you have now-- forced air, steam, hot-water?
if you have hot-water or steam, there is no reason the heating should not be even throughout the house, as i am sure the first owners would not have tolerated cold spots! even if forced air, there should be heat distributed throughout, though not with the same degree of comfort as h/w, and steam.
you mention ducts and plumbers in the same post, so it's hard to tell.--nbc
@ January 23, 2010 12:39 PM in Iron Fireman Steam Systemshould the pressure really be so high?--nbc
@ January 23, 2010 12:35 PM in Radiator Control Knobs - no numbersyes the louder hiss is a sign more air is being allowed to escape, thus allowing the steam to enter the radiators. if you take that dial off, that should allow the maximum air flow. there may be problems with too much air flow, causing water-hammer. see if you can also find the main vents in the boiler room, and determine whether they are functioning properly, because it is they who should do all the work.--nbc
@ January 23, 2010 12:27 PM in steam radiator vent leaki am not familiar with that make of vent, however it may be one of those vents, which "spits like a llama"! see if you can find a hoffman radiator vent. they seem more spit-proof than most.
if that doesn't cure the leaking, then check the pressure of your boiler, and get it set as low as possible [under 12 ounces is ideal, but requires a vaporstat]. in addition to the pressure, increase the capacity of your main line venting, so the radiator vent [and your gas company/wallet] doesn't have to do so much work.--nbc
@ January 23, 2010 12:09 AM in Glass boiler pipingi believe that this a demonstration of how steam can be wet, when the surface of the water is oily. the presenter of the demo is neil murdough, a frequent contributor here. this shows why skimming is so important!--nbc
@ January 22, 2010 11:57 PM in Air Vent Placementyou have to let the air out, as quickly as possible, before the steam can arrive at its destination. the motorized valves make this even more tricky, because when they are closed. even when the boiler is firing, they prevent the vents from letting the air behind, and in front of them out. when the valves open, the vents on the ends have a lot of work to do, all of a sudden. you could put vents immediately in front of the motorized valves, to speed up the steam into the various sections. you would still need vents next to the boiler, on the dry return so as to complete the evacuation. i would put plenty of vents at the end of the dry returns, so that you have as quick a response to a call for heat as possible. start with 3 gorton# 2 for each dry return, and see if that is enough.
remember that low pressure steam [ounces] travels faster than high pressure steam [1+ psi]-do you know what your pressure is?--nbc
@ January 22, 2010 7:10 PM in Replacing an ancient vacuum/vapor/sort of 'Moline' two pipe systemif it were mine, i would keep the steam. i would get the pressure down to a few ounces. i would tweak the venting so that the air is no longer squeezed out of one smallish vent.
i would find the orifice setup most suited to the system--probably metering valves, so the radiators could be regulated for each room. right now the "sauna" gets heat way ahead of other areas, probably from insufficient venting.
at the risk of causing controversy, i will say that if the general work was done, you may get a few more years out of the old boiler, if finances are tight. whether old or new boiler you will still need the low pressure and the venting, and orifices.--nbc
@ January 22, 2010 12:46 AM in Do I set the High fire / low fire control to hold a constant pressure or oscillate?using pressure to determine the timing for the start of cycle seems like a bad idea. if the system has bad venting [and many systems do], then the start of cycle will start even before mr. texaco has pushed the air out of the constipated little vents! i have 55 radiators, and the air is out before 3 ounces, and almost never see the 12 ounce cut-out mark. i doubt whether the heat-timer setup would be able to sense the low pressures that are so ideal for our systems.
timing by the start of steam arrival, determined by temperature, is the only reliable method. surely there would be some dry returns near the boiler to get the temperature from. if your mains are filled, then your risers are almost there. i am not familiar with the heat-timer setup, but am sure that it probably follows closely the apparent industry leader-tekmar in the timing of the cycle from radiation cool down to heat up, with outside temperature controlling the duration of firing. looks like a better control could pay for itself in a couple of days with your consumption!--nbc
@ January 21, 2010 11:08 PM in Boiler Floodingwell said, however the return of condensate from radiators with closed/faulty valves usually takes much longer, and is accompanied by much hammering.--nbc
@ January 21, 2010 7:50 PM in 1 pipe steam system to radiantmaybe their desire to have a radiant floor comes from some discomfort of the steam system. many of these old buildings have badly maintained steam systems, running at over high pressure, with noisy vents, and bad control systems. maybe restoring the system to its original specs would take care of things.--nbc
@ January 21, 2010 7:34 PM in Boiler Floodingcongratulations on the skimming and good low pressure gauge!
why not compare the piping you have with the mfg's installation instructions as far as pipe diameters, and height above the boiler.
can you turn off the supply to the auto/over-fill so you can see how the waterline behaves with no feed. if you have a slow-return of condensate, a reservoir tank might be a better solution for you, as it cannot over-fill.
although it doesn't seem so in your case, it is possible for the pigtail to be clogged, preventing the gauge, and pressuretrol from reading the pressure. runaway pressure can then force the water up into the returns, hiding it from the boiler, until the pressure drops at the end of the cycle.
what sort of thermostat are you using?--nbc
@ January 21, 2010 5:15 PM in Do I set the High fire / low fire control to hold a constant pressure or oscillate?i vote for an even 12 oz, or lower. can you tell when your main vents have closed [pressure wise]?
when you say uneven heating, do you mean wide temperature swings in general, or unevenness in temperatures, from one unit to another?
what are you using to control the boiler? some control systems can use several indoor sensors, taking the average.-nbc
@ January 21, 2010 2:47 PM in Vacuum Foe ??unscrew the top of that vent to expose a small disk in a housing. this is the one-way valve which makes it a vacuum valve. remove it and you have a plain hoffman 75.--nbc
@ January 20, 2010 12:50 PM in American Standard Boiler Heati presume this is hot-water heat, because it has a pump?
why not post your question on "the wall" and more wet-heads will see it.
there are some excellent books from the shop here on hot-water heat, which will make the subject easier to understand.
it sounds as though you have unwanted air in the system, and therefore you should use the find a pro button above. a pro can show you how to do many things yourself, as well as solving the immediate problem.--nbc
@ January 19, 2010 9:26 AM in "Y" Strainers for Main Vents & Insulation Questionsi don't think the addition of venting will disloge a lot of debris. more vents, with lower pressure can only reduce the velocity of the air leaving each vent, and therefore is less likely to pick up debris, and clog the vent. the ideal is to get the air out of, and get steam into the main pipes, as quickly as possible, at the lowest possible pressure! maybe if the installation included some thought, and unions to make it easier to get the main vents out of a limited access area, it will make it easier to clean/replace them. my 55 rad, 3 storey system has closed the vents now before the needle hits 3 oz! [however i did buy 3 gorton # 2 for each of 6 dry return$!] all my vents are next to the boiler on dry returns. if you have a counterflow system, you will not have dry returns, so is that your situation?
if so then you would need larger vents than the "d" on the top of the risers, on the ends of the main.
i wondered about strainers, but didn't ever need them, and i put large capacity gorton d radiator vents on the  3rd floor rads to speed up the risers.
definitely insulate those pipes, with fiberglass, any way you can [if you can see the steam pipe, it should be insulated].--nbc
@ January 19, 2010 8:59 AM in One-Pipe System Tune Up For A Newbie, and Some Small Problemsget a good low pressure gauge,[gaugestore.com 0-2 psi], and you will finally know what your pressure is. in addition, look at your main vents [pictures will identify them , if they are not marked].
check your thermostat for anticipation, and if digital, for "steam rated"[not all are].
definitely, insulate those pipes, even with batts of 1 in. as a temporary fix.--nbc