Security Seal Facebook Twitter GooglePlus Pinterest Newsletter Sign-up
The Wall
nicholas bonham-carter

nicholas bonham-carter

Joined on November 24, 2007

Last Post on July 20, 2014

Contact User

Recent Posts

controling spitting radiator

@ March 1, 2011 11:08 AM in spitting steam vaues

i would replace those 2 vents with a hoffman 40 in the lower, and a pipe plug in the lower. some condensate must be collecting in the pipe, maybe in a low spot, and therefore blows out through that float-less vent. keep your pressure as low as possible, and see if there is improvement.--nbc

hot water loop from a steam boiler

@ February 27, 2011 1:16 AM in Adding Heat in Basement

if you look in the shop here you can order a copy of "the lost art of steam heating", and there is a section describing a hot water loop with radiators from a steam boiler. it works well but you have to follow certain steps to enable it to function properly, and not upset the rest of the system.--nbc

my theory too

@ February 26, 2011 7:52 PM in Radiator Valves

yes! put on the most capacious main venting you can buy, and install. you can never have too much.
the larger vents will have a lower air velocity along with back-pressure, and will be less likely to plug up with debris over the course of a few years.--nbc

wiring a vaporstat

@ February 26, 2011 7:47 PM in Vaporstat Not Working

my vaporstat is using the upper and lower terminals like yours. i think the middle terminal makes it into a "make on rise".
if you can take the cover off and actuate the rocking lever at the bottom [with a wood pencil] while firing then you can see if it is cutting off the circuit, and therefore the boiler.
honeywell should really put a tell-tale light on these controls, so it could be readily seen if:
there is power to the control,
if the vaporstat swich is open or closed.
how expensive would that be? and yet so valuable to the owner!!--nbc

baseboard installation

@ February 26, 2011 7:40 PM in one pipe steam radiator

sometimes there can be problems with inadequate heat from mixed baseboard-radiator systems because of the difference in the thermal mass of both. that room may become cold after the switch.--nbc

new boiler discussion

@ February 26, 2011 6:03 PM in Near Boiler Piping??

why not add up now the edr of all your radiators, and size the new boiler to that figure--not the old boiler! get a good low-pressure gauge and 16 oz. vaporstat, as your system may be an old vapor system with no traps, and low pressure is the way to go.--nbc

vaporstat fried?

@ February 26, 2011 1:00 PM in Vaporstat Not Working

did you try bobc's suggestion of actuating the lever inside to see if the switch will cut the power when firing? you don't have the "make on rise model" do you?--nbc

non functioning vaporstat

@ February 26, 2011 11:20 AM in Vaporstat Not Working

i think i had that same problem, with a snubber installed, so i took the snubber off, and all seems well. if the rads are hissing, that would indicate a need for more main venting.--nbc

presuretrol problems

@ February 25, 2011 10:31 PM in Pressuretrol failure?

yes the pigtail can become clogged after a year's inattention; but i think the design is flawed in such a way as to fail when adjusted too low. some of the linkage becomes unhitched and then the pressure can gallop out of bounds. there seems to be no fail-safe, and that's why "they suck so badly" [in the words of others]. they are really only useful for keeping the installation manual open to the right page while you are installing a vaporstat!--nbc

bad trap?

@ February 25, 2011 5:59 PM in A love hate relationship

if you open the bad trap, and remove the insides, then close it back up, will the radiator then work? did you tell us what your pressure was in ounces?--nbc

off again-on again

@ February 25, 2011 4:47 PM in A love hate relationship

could steam in the returns from another bad trap be closing that rad trap down, and preventing it from doing its job?--nbc

backflushing radiators

@ February 25, 2011 2:31 PM in A love hate relationship

here is an earlier thread on the subject. i am not sure about using a vacuum, but i know this works:

redoing the piping oneself

@ February 25, 2011 2:26 PM in Old boiler re-piping?

yes, but of course wait until summer!
the use of a drop header will make it easier to get the header laid out properly, and will make the steam dryer.
there is some sort of procedure described here for the removal of old bushings with melted paraffin wax. do a search and maybe the details of that will pop up. of course that may be more effective while the boiler is still running.--nbc


@ February 25, 2011 2:18 PM in Any Norther NJ steam experts (morris county)

i would look at your pressure while firing, while you are taking those pictures. the non-functioning main vents could most likely be due to over-pressure. you will probably need a good low-pressure gauge from as the code required 0-30 psi gauge is useles for diagnostics.
most 2-pipe systems do not use radiator vents, and most work best on a pressure of less than 1.5 psi [basic functionality], down to 2 onces[economy and comfort].--nbc

good one brad

@ February 24, 2011 10:38 PM in Whistling steam boiler

as always the right words for any occasion-bravo!.--nbc

five pound vapor system

@ February 24, 2011 10:35 PM in Trap Application

if the system is getting up to 5 psi, then that is why the traps are not working, as it is out of their range. get a 16 ounce vaporstat to be sure the pressure is in the range of ounces. also check that the air is escaping with a back-pressure of 2 ounces, using a good low pressure gauge [, 0-15 oz.].--nbc

piping peculiarities

@ February 24, 2011 12:02 PM in One Cold Radiator

have you compared the piping diagram in the installation manual for the boiler with what your piping is now, both in pipe diameters/materials, and riser heights?
from the picture it looks to me as though the riser diameters may have been bushed down as they exit the boiler, and of course copper is certainly not desirable because of its high coefficient of expansion putting undue force on the block.
i think the piping you have now is sending too much water up with the steam, and that is interfering with the venting, and steam distribution in the radiators.
is the hunter thermostat set properly for steam heat? it probably has an anticipator to prevent temperature over-shoot, and if not set right, the thermostat can be satisfied before the radiators are all full of steam.
an additional larger main vent, like a gorton #2 would help to fill the mains full of steam first before it rises up to the radiators above.--nbc

honeywell visionpro peculiarities

@ February 24, 2011 12:56 AM in Thermostat short cycling dropouts

i've noticed that the boiler will fire, and if i blow down the lwco, with its resultant cutting off of the burner, the thermostat will not re-fire the burner for a longer time than i would have thought. also noticed the short-cycling from the visionpro of which you spoke. i wonder if the occasional static shock from my finger may have confused it!--nbc

when is the test for this professor?

@ February 23, 2011 11:54 PM in Why do we use outside temperature to trigger boiler instead of inside temp?

your words will take a bit of digesting for me! i will keep on re-reading!--nbc

how long does your boiler run in the winter?

@ February 23, 2011 11:20 PM in Why do we use outside temperature to trigger boiler instead of inside temp?

are you sure it is non-stop? maybe an hourmeter would be a good addition.--nbc

whistling boiler

@ February 23, 2011 7:15 PM in Whistling steam boiler

it could be the main air vent on the return allowing air to escape from the main pipes. my old american standard would whistle as the gas started into the tubes.
make sure that when it is replaced, the installer measures the heat capacity of all the radiators, and not just the heat loss of the building!
if your main vent is whistling, it is too small.--nbc

new boiler-cold rad

@ February 23, 2011 12:28 PM in One Cold Radiator

why not post some pictures of your boiler supply piping. if not piped correctly, large amounts of water can be pushed up into the supplies, interfering with main venting, resulting in unbalanced steam distribution. the fact that you have copper supplies leads me to believe that the piping is wrong, and not to factory requirements.
is the capacity of the boiler large enough for the radiation, [not the heat-loss]?
what sort of main vent is currently on the main, or dry return?
is the same thermostat still controlling the system as the original?
if you turn off the boiler, and remove the cold radiator air vent, what would happen [have someone ready to flip the boiler switch off when you do this test!]--nbc