Joined on November 24, 2007
Last Post on March 9, 2014
@ March 4, 2014 4:43 AM in Gorton #C steam vent valve replacement + hammering/clanging noiseIf the change of vent is the cause,I would have thought that the hammering would have started as soon as you had changed the vent, instead of 3 weeks later, if you can wear a sweater, put a plug in the vent tapping, and see if the hammering is lessened.
Either one of your neighbors has made some change in his radiator, or the system pressure has changed.
See who else in the building may have noticed some hammering, and go from there.--NBC
@ March 3, 2014 10:48 PM in Help me ballance my 1 pipe steam Please!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
@ March 3, 2014 10:37 PM in Leaking curved steam radiatorsWhat a beauty! No wonder you want to save it.
I think the push nipple radiators had a threaded rod or even two to hold the sections together, but with a curved radiator, probably the only force holding the sections together would be the threads of a LH/RH threaded nipple.
As far as the pressure of your interesting system goes, 1psi might be tops, and maybe 2 ounces would be better, as it looks like a "trapless system" with a water seal in the end to keep the steam from leaving the radiator and causing hammering in the returns.
Most of us here have a 0-3 psi gauge, reading in ounces of pressure to fine tune our vaporstats. Good luck.--NBC
@ March 3, 2014 10:01 AM in Banging in relation to PressureYou can do all your heating at well under a pound, even at 4 ounces.
There is probably a horizontal section supplying the radiator which is pitched backwards. Did you try raising up the radiator an inch or so? This will sometime correct a sagged horizontal which is halfway up the riser.
Don't rely on the settings of the pressuretrol without verifying the pressure with an accurate 0-3 psi gauge. When you adjust a pressuretrol down below its minimum, the linkage can disconnect, and allow the pressure to rise up too high. Those devices are works of the Devil! --NBC
@ March 3, 2014 9:22 AM in Knocking and hammeringSince this is a 2-pipe system, then the next area to examine would be the traps. They should not be steam hot on the discharge side. There are probably crossover traps as well which should also be found and checked. New trap elements could be ordered from one of several suppliers to save the ordeal of having to change the spuds.
I second the advice to get the steam books here.
Don't forget the pictures, although I am thinking that this is a case of sudden trap failure, unless you can see some change which has been recently made.--NBC
@ March 3, 2014 9:15 AM in Pressure QuestionsI have always thought of noisy vents as a sign of over pressure and under main venting. Is the connection under the new pigtail free and clear?
Turn the boiler off, and unscrew the gauge, and fire it briefly, to see if the boiler tapping may be plugged. Even a 0-15 psi gauge, is rather inaccurate for diagnosis.--NBC
@ March 3, 2014 9:05 AM in Leaking curved steam radiatorsCongratulations on wanting to restore rather than replace!
If this is 2-pipe steam, the pressure should be pretty low (ounces of pressure)-what is yours?
Can you post some pictures?
Most radiators have either a screwed nipple, or push nipple joining the sections, where I assume the leak is. Since this radiator is curved, it probably has the screwed nipples, with RH threads/LH threads.
I believe that someone here has the name of a machine shop which can remake the nipples, and hopefully he will post the contact details.
The only question I would have in such a case would be whether to replace all the nipples in the rad, instead of just the leaker.--NBC
@ March 2, 2014 11:58 PM in Thermometer Heating Survey in my Coop BuildingsShow us some pictures of the boiler, and it's piping as well as the radiators. This sounds like the usual system imbalance, complicated by the probable extra distance the steam may have to travel to the farthest radiator in the non-boiler building.
The pressure control would be on the boiler, and not part of the Tekmar controller. It's function is similar to the governor on an industrial engine, limiting in this case the maximum pressure which can be attained by the boiler. In my 55 rad system, the limit is 12 ounces using a vaporstat. If regular maintenance has been spotty, this control can plug up, and the resulting over-pressure travels more slowly through the pipes, costs extra money for fuel, and causes discomfort and imbalance. Lower pressures require maximum main venting, and it is not enough to think because the vents are on the returns, that they are adequate, or even working. Unfortunately, the code required 0-30 psi gauge found on most boilers is useless for the sort of diagnosis you will soon be doing, and so most of us have a 0-3 psi gauge for that purpose.
When these buildings were built, the temperatures in the apartments would have been only a few degrees different from coldest, to warmest, and the job is to return them to their original state of perfect operation.
Another tricky feature of any multi building system with a single boiler, is making sure the boiler is not temporarily starve of water as some distant condensate tank is slow to pump the water back.a good steam pro assisted by your observations can get this system back on track for a relatively small per unit cost.--NBC
@ March 2, 2014 6:27 AM in So many problems...would be grateful for any helpIt seems as though the system has a leak. Have your head-scratcher overfill the boiler, and look for drips over a few hours. Examine all the returns, and supplies for water or steam leak.
Once you have a tight system, then concentrate on its balance. I suspect your pressure is too high, and that the spitting vents are the result of that, and weak main venting.
Get a copy of the lost art of steam heating from the shop here and read it with your serviceman to see how to make things better.--NBC
@ March 1, 2014 11:04 AM in Heating-Cooling Loss and GainCould it be done by a separate person from the installer?
Obviously a radiator survey should be done for steam systems.--NBC
@ March 1, 2014 11:03 AM in Too hot upstairs after conversion to gas-fired steam boilerWhat is the air temperature in the basement now?
I had trouble opening the pictures on my iPad, but it looks as though there are several dry returns going down to the wet return, and if so, then each should have a main vent.
I also thought I saw a bull headed tee, which can have some inequality in its distribution.
Putting main vents on wherever they should be will improve the imbalance.--NBC
@ March 1, 2014 10:53 AM in Switching from Oil to GasLochinvar makes the Solution, which has reset capabilities, with a stage burner, although not outside combustion air. It would be a lot lighter than a cast iron boiler coming down any stairs.
Did any of the plumbers do a heat loss?
If not, go to SlantFin.com, and download their easy to use program.--NBC
@ March 1, 2014 10:45 AM in Continuing water hammer issuesUsing 2 risers might be better, and cheaper, because you may use 2 inch pipe instead of 3 inch.
Just make sure they are both on the other side of the supply/header connection from the equalizer.--NBC
@ March 1, 2014 10:39 AM in Help me ballance my 1 pipe steam Please!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
@ March 1, 2014 7:56 AM in Help me ballance my 1 pipe steam Please!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
@ February 28, 2014 8:55 PM in Pickup factor. Help me understandChris, I think you are on to something here. The pickup loss may not be necessary, IF YOU CAN WAIT A LONGER TIME FOR RECOVERY [from setback]
As you have pointed out, the piping has been heated by the time steam arrives at the radiators, so why include the added 1/3 over the EDR?
This question could be answered by those who have adjustable burners, which can be more easily dialed down to match the heat loss of the radiation to the output from the burner.--NBC
@ February 28, 2014 8:40 PM in I figured out how to calibrate a Pressuretrol!Thanks for this tip. But if you could get it to go to a lower range, that would be even more interesting!
I'm sticking with my vaporstat!--NBC
@ February 28, 2014 8:36 PM in Apologies and explanationthank goodness it was only that, and not the NSA hacking in to investigate our group here!
or retribution from one of the trolls you have kicked off the site!
when I saw the blank space after logging in, and expected the worst, I contemplated the great sadness of not having Heating-help to retreat to, after reading on the news of...
It's a real joy for us to have this resource which you have created--thank you so much--NBC
@ February 28, 2014 11:48 AM in Radiator soundsTry putting some pieces of milk jug under the feet, to make them slide more easily.
Are there very fast vents on the noisy radiators?--NBC
@ February 28, 2014 7:37 AM in Steam radiatorsRadiators can be made of straight copper piping, if the slopes are correct. It would be best to pipe the room as a two-pipe setup, with a drop down to below the waterline for a wet return.
Alternatively, the pipe radiators could be fed on a hot water loop from the boiler.
How far away is the boiler?
Is the rest of the system one pipe or two?
What is the heating load of the room?
Pictures of the boiler, and radiators would be helpful.--NBC
@ February 28, 2014 6:39 AM in Cast Iron Radiator Valves - AdjustingGood question, Charlie.
Why not post some pictures of the boiler and radiators (inlet, and outlet sides), then we can see.--NBC
@ February 27, 2014 10:24 PM in Cast Iron Radiator Valves - AdjustingYou can loosen the packing nut right underneath the handle with an adjustable crescent wrench a partial turn, and that should allow the valve spindle to rotate. Remember to tighten it back up when finished.
Have you checked the other obvious things: air bled from radiators, correct pressure on the gauge on the boiler, and aquastat settings?--NBC