Joined on November 24, 2007
Last Post on May 20, 2013
@ September 13, 2009 7:24 PM in thermostatic radiator valvestrv's have no control over the firing of the boiler. a tennant who is too cold, will be just as cold after the installation. trv's can only control the over heating of individual radiators. likewise they cannot prevent the boiler from firing.
if the radiators are overheating, then that may signal a steam system problem. i would spend the trv money on checking over the system, and perhaps installing a new control system, either outdoor reset, and several indoor sensors.
get all radiators receiving steam at the same time, and running at 8 oz, and you should reduce hotspots. any that are left can then be controlled with a trv.--nbc
@ September 11, 2009 11:14 PM in Condo Maintenancedon't view only the boiler efficiency, as it is really the whole system which counts.
make sure that you get a vaporstat, and good main vents on the new boiler.
there could be some thought given to how the old and new boilers would be connected together.
in some cases it might pay to make the system run as well as possible on the old boiler, and then install a new one [at a more convenient time].
your installer must also size the new boiler by the radiation capacity, and not go by the old one!!!--nbc
@ September 11, 2009 5:54 PM in New house old heating systemis this 1 or 2 pipe steam, and are you refering to the steame supply header on top of the boiler? if so, generally there should be 24 in. from waterline to header. if it was an old coal boiler, then the capacious steam chest on top of the warterline enabled the steam to be "dry" when it made its way out to the system.
some pics would be helpful. things to check would be :
1. correct low pressure-under 12 ounces.
2.adequate main line venting-usually on returns, unless it is counterflow-1 pipe-steam.
3.clean, well adjusted burner.
@ September 10, 2009 10:37 PM in Vent sizingusually the local gas company has very specific regulations, based on BTU and chimney height, [including height above the roof, or any window. i am going to make a guess that you will have to vent them separately, or together with a 14 in chimney.--nbc
@ September 10, 2009 11:51 AM in Skimming this weekendi would fill it up to the top today, and then let it drip out tomorrow, or the w/e. if you can pipe the discharge over to a floor drain, it is sooo much easier.
the manufacturer of your boiler may have specific recommendations as to procedure. for instance peerless specifies the use of arm and hammer washing soda, and a little simmering. when i did mine, i added the washing soda, and let it simmer for 20 minutes. then while simmering, i added makeup water very slowly. finally cut the burner off, and continued adding water for a few hours, all made easier by a temporary connection to the floor drain.-nbc
@ September 10, 2009 11:25 AM in Replace radiators w/ forced air?yes,have a look at the mfgs site..nbc
@ September 10, 2009 9:38 AM in Replace radiators w/ forced air?is the present system steam, or hot water? if i were you i would keep the present system [thoroughly checked out and maintained]. forced air is always going to be less efficient than hydronics at putting the heat where you want it.
however, i understand the need for air conditioning, and so i would suggest this sort of "mini-split" system:
@ September 8, 2009 7:48 AM in I didn't think they could do iteveryone can benefit from the 40 days in the wilderness.
"watched an Eagle steal a nice salmon from an Osprey"
that was the sort of behaviour which caused Benjamin franklin to be disappointed in the choice of eagle as our national symbol. his choice of a more noble bird........the turkey!!-nbc
@ September 6, 2009 10:58 PM in Reaching out for help:i don't know whether you have a steam system yourself; but working on a system with some problems can be a real eyeopener. studying dan's books will also be helpful.
could you volunteer as a steam troubleshooter for maybe a church or public housing project? if you have the right problems, and a real interest in steam heating; you will learn pretty quickly.--nbc
@ September 3, 2009 6:04 PM in sizing for new boileri think that having a vaporstat is not merely an advantage but almost a necessity, as these systems only work really well at low pressures [with generous main venting].
do a search here for "vaporstat" and the correct honeywell part number will be found. i think the key is "break on rise" 0-16 oz.--nbc
@ September 3, 2009 8:06 AM in Need 2 boilers?does the smith have enough reserve capacity, beyond the needs of the radiators and piping for making hot water? a hotel probably has larger hot water needs than say an apartment building-especially if they have a restaurant, and do their own linen washing.
is the dhw boiler completely shot? i would do some calculations of hot water consumption, before removing it. it could be junked later when you know it is not needed. i would think there could be some advantages in keeping dhw production separate from heating in a heavy use situation. so just "slide it out of the way" until you are certain it won't be needed!--nbc
@ September 3, 2009 7:53 AM in sizing for new boileri don't suppose the original owner of the building would have tolerated any heating imbalance in his new building when it was built, therefore i assume this system worked well at some long ago point, with properly sized [and working] radiators in every area.
check your main vents, as it seems as if the steam is not arriving at all radiators simultaneously, and a new boiler will be no better until this is corrected. are there sags in the piping keeping the steam from flowing freely?
when you put in the new boiler, don't waste any money on a pressuretrol, get a vaporstat. if a pressuretrol comes with the new boiler, it can be used to hold open the manufacturers installation book, while you follow them without deviation. afterwards, when painted with gold paint, the pressuretrol makes a unique christmas tree decoration for one of your "favorite" relations.
others will be better quailified to advise on boiler size [all i can say is that it matters]. this may be an application for 2-stage firing controlled by a second vaporstat.--nbc
@ September 3, 2009 7:35 AM in Gurgling Radiator but it ain't onhave a look at the boiler when you hear the noise. if it makes domestic hot water as well for the house, it may be firing too hot. i also would suggest turning the boiler on at the thermostat to see whether the noise appears. observation of these systems is the first step in any repair or maintainance.--nbc
@ September 2, 2009 7:51 AM in Gurgling Radiator but it ain't onwhat type of system is this radiator on, and does it make hot-water?
the controls should prevent it from steaming, if it is only making hot water.
during these episodes of gurgling, what is the boiler doing?
is the noise really coming from the radiator, or only heard there?--nbc
@ September 2, 2009 7:43 AM in Water Hammercheck your main vents for operation, and you may need to increase their number, and capacity. in my experience, the radiator vents do not plug up as quickly as the [maybe improperly installed] main vents. start with those first, and just test trhe radiator vents with the "blow-through" method. also the radiator vents only have capacity to handle the air removal of the riser and radiator, leaving the main vents to handle the large volume of air in the boiler, and main steam lines. don't be paying for extra fuel to squeeezze your air out-let it leave easily on it's own through generous MAIN-LINE VENTS!!!
did you have water-hammer last season? if it has suddenly appeared, then check your steam pressure with a good low pressure gauge [gaugestore.com-0-15 ounces ] on the same pigtail as your vaporstat. make sure the system is in the 3-12 ounce range for quickest response. your pigtail may have become clogged, and unable to let the vaporstat "feel" the boiler pressure.
if the waterlogged radiator condition persists even with proper low pressure and venting, then look at your boiler water-line: is it steady, and clean? check your near boiler piping and compare it to the downloaded mfgs's installation in structions.--nbc
@ August 31, 2009 10:00 PM in Radiator Coversis the system functioning well now? some insulation board between the radiators, and the outside wall might help. if you change to hot water heat unnecessarily, instead of making the steam work as well as it no doubt once did, it might be a shame, or at the very least a waste of money. many radiators have been recessed into walls [probably insulated with blankets in those days] and worked well as long as the airflow was not obstructed. new hot water radiators of the equivalent btu will be much larger, and the cost of new boiler, piping, and radiators, may take many sundays to pay for.
more important in the quest for greater economy of operation would be to keep things in good repair and adjustment.--nbc
@ August 31, 2009 5:07 AM in Steam Heater that won't turn offi forgot to mention in my previous post that you can turn off the radiators by turning the hoffman #40 upside down [as a temporary solution only]. be careful to turn it only 180 deg, so as not to loosen the threads.
an achieveable goal for your landlady would be: get the system functioning as it originally did. that would mean making sure that the steam arrives at all the radiators on a given floor at almost the same time, once the control has determined a need for heat. in addition the control should react properly with steam, and not "run over" beyond the set-point, causing everyone to boil in some areas or freeze in others. this may cost the equivalent of a few months worth of fuel, but would save a LOT of money, especially in your climate!
the person who has responded to you in your area is one of the most knowlegeable, and thoughtful contributors here on the subject of steam heat. it seems to me that whoever up to now has been maintaining this system has not kept it working as it should: quiet, even, comfortable, and economical.--nbc
@ August 30, 2009 12:21 PM in Steam Heater that won't turn offthis would be a good application for thermostatic radiator VENTS, which would keep the steam from entering the radiator if the room were already too hot, and save money as well.
has the system been serviced on a regular basis? it could reduce fuel consumption by as much as 1/3rd, if it were functioning as well as it once did when first installed, all those years ago. the owners then would not have tolerated overheating at that time. the difference is that there are fewer "steam professionals" around to keep things in order. luckily you have arrived at this site where there is a good stock of professional steam advice, and answers.
why not order a copy of "the lost art of steam heating" fro the shop here, and it will explain many things about steam heat in a simple, easy to understand way. you will then be able to diagnose some problems, so that the professional can then know where to start with repairs or adjustments.
as steamhead has wisely said, pictures are worth a thousand words.--nbc
@ August 27, 2009 10:56 PM in Heating Quandrumit seems that your basement is the only part being heated by electricity-is that right?
if so for your $1k, you would get a bigger bang for the buck by minimizing heat loss. recycling the heat from the dryer could be a possibility, instead of blowing it all outside! making sure the thermostat was set right [anticipation,etc.] would be very important.
usually basements are lower heat loss areas than elsewhere in the house.--nbc
@ August 25, 2009 10:05 PM in New floor, now radiator too highif you can, when you have solved the problem, post some pix of the radiator height problem and its solution!! many others will have this sort of problem, and your experiences will be invaluable on this site!!--thank you--nbc
@ August 25, 2009 4:03 PM in 2 stage gas burnerthat must be an old system! when first installed, the coal fire was set up at the beginning of cold weather, and burned more or less continuously throughout the winter. therefore there was no need to deal with air removal repeatedly everytime the burner kicks on, because, this fire never went off!. when the fire was at its lowest, in the early morning there would have been some steam still in the radiators, even though at negligeable pressure.
now that your system has been "modernized" beyond the coal stage, you will have to find a way to put main vents in. is it counter-flow or parallel? there will be a noticeable improvement when you get adequate venting on board.--nbc
@ August 25, 2009 10:14 AM in New floor, now radiator too highif you have access to the riser below,can you put in a longer nipple, or even unscrew it a bit? sometimes there is enough give in the pipes to lever the valve up that sort of short distance. you may have to adjust the elbows, or a pipe hanger underneath.--nbc