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Joined on September 24, 2009

Last Post on April 11, 2014

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@ April 11, 2014 9:31 AM in Radiator air vent preference?

I have been installing only Gortons for years. No problems at all. Only thing that I would not do is to follow the Gorton venting guide. It is amateurish. Get the venting guide available in the shop section on this site. Venting is like the human respiratory system. It is critical to the health of any steam heating system.


@ April 2, 2014 10:56 AM in Radiator cracking

Was the crack in the same spot on all three rads? What type of rads? Are the rads in a very cold spot? Maybe thermal shock(not likely) . Also so they have cracks or holes or leaks between sections etc?


@ March 28, 2014 12:26 AM in Steam problem

Was that plugged T connected to the boiler or to the steam main. If the latter, then you can disregard my analysis.

Time for sleep.


@ March 28, 2014 12:23 AM in Steam problem

Header seems to be low. Its a drop header so maybe there is some leeway. Initially, there was steam approaching the main takeoff from two direction. After the elimination of one of the boiler risers, there is steam approaching only from one direction. That might explain why the banging has gone away.

All the time

@ March 27, 2014 3:59 PM in Do you ever get sick of looking

Happens to me all the time. I feel bad for these homeowners. How are they supposed to know the difference between one installer and the next. In these situations, I leave the customer with a card and offer them to draw up a piping diagram for a fee. In addition, I offer pre and post consultations. Every once in a blue moon, I actually make a few dollars off these consultations.


@ March 27, 2014 3:52 PM in radiators hissing from vents, one valve shooting water

The green air vent on top of the main (near the boiler) is an older version of the Hoffman 75. Base on age and the signs of leaks(brown marks) it might be time for a replacement.


@ March 27, 2014 3:49 PM in radiators hissing from vents, one valve shooting water

Sounds like there are two separate issues. The hissing from the air vents might be due to undersized radiator air vents or lack of main air vents. Also might be result of steam leaking out of air vents. Put a tissue on air vent hole and see if tissue gets wet. Be careful. Steam is hot! The leak that you are seeing by the radiator shutoff valve is a localized issue. The nut near the handle probably needs to be sealed/repacked. Usually not a big job.

Can you retake pics from further back? We need to see the piping on top of the boiler.


@ March 24, 2014 9:27 AM in New Burnham Mega Steam short cycling, only heating half the home

How was the heat with the old boiler? If home heated properly with old boiler then you need to determine what changed.

There are many thing that can cause only part of a home to heat properly. Anything that causes wet steam can lead to such problems. How is the near boiler piping? Was the boiler skimmed?

How is the venting(main and radiator)?

You mentioned that you did a heat loss. That is not the correct way to size a steam boiler. The only correct way to size a steam boiler is based on the heat output of the connected radiation(BTU output or EDR, different names for the same thing).

Short cycling. Is it cycling on pressure or do you have a cyclegard that is periodically shutting down the boiler. Do NOT bypass the pressuretrol. If its the LWCO then you can replace it with a conventional LWCO. If its cycling on pressure the you need to determine why(assuming that it really is SHORT cycling and not going through the normal cycling process).

Pics would help.


@ March 23, 2014 8:21 PM in i got to get rid of this steam heat system, i got questions

Your best bet would be to have a steam pro look at the steam side of the system and an oil pro to look at the combustion side of the system. Most steam systems have been grossly mismanaged. Some proper fixing up could greatly reduce your heating costs. Lets face it. You are not in California anymore. You need a proper heating system that both heats properly and is not cost prohibitive to run.

1 1/4"

@ March 23, 2014 2:05 PM in Adding cast iron baseboard to one-pipe steam system

Best bet is to use 1 1/4" baseboard.


@ March 22, 2014 9:39 PM in Adding cast iron baseboard to one-pipe steam system

Not sure if that would work. If steam approaches the rad from both sides,the pressure would equalize and steam probably wouldn't enter the radiator from either side. 1 1/4" baseboard is probably the best way to go if you absolutely need to have baseboard


@ March 9, 2014 5:48 PM in Steam distribution pipe removal options?

We dont discuss pricing on the wall. However,tens of thousands is probably a bit over the top. However,it certainly is expensive. The main would need to be raised. With that comes redoing evert pipe that is connected to the main. Only way to give an exact price would be to set eyes on the actual layout.


@ March 5, 2014 2:11 PM in HELP with new steam boiler

I wouldn't touch a green mountain with a ten foot pole. Its a side outlet boiler. Very hard to pipe adequately in best of circumstances and even harder in the small boiler rooms in most residential house. As Dan stated, boiler output needs to match heat output of radiators and piping. Typically the formula is heat output of rads plus an additional 33%. You also need to make sure that the gas line is adequately sized to handle the additional load of the boiler. Big question is, why did the boiler crack? Was the excessive addition of ne water? Did the boiler dry fire. Etc. You dont want a repeat performance with the new boiler. Might be worthwhile to contact Crown.


@ March 5, 2014 12:50 PM in Steam boiler banging, hissing and water noise

The trol itself might be bad. You would need to add a 0-3 or 0-5 pressure gauge to know for sure. Probably not a coincidence that there is banging and a leaking pressure relief valve. Both are symptoms of high pressure. You can get Gorton #2 air vents at Where are you located?


@ March 5, 2014 10:43 AM in Steam boiler banging, hissing and water noise

The near boiler piping is pretty bad. You don't have an effective header. This can lead to water being carried into the system which will then result in water hammer.

That being said, you need to figure out what changed. Why was there no hammer until now and why are you currently having water hammer?

The first thing that I would check would be the water quality. Steam boilers will all gradually accumulate sludge in the the boiler. That can lead to surging which in turn will shoot water out into the system. With the current piping, you already have two strikes against you. Try flushing out the boiler a few times and see what happens.

Check your main vents. If your main vents used to work properly but now dont open properly then the steam be slower then it was previously. The result will be more condensate and more water hammer.

Check the pressuretrol pigtail. If the pigtail is clogged then the pressuretrol will be useless. The result will be high pressure,slow condensate return,water in the mains and water hammer.

Setbacks. Did you recently set your thermostat for night setbacks? Setbacks can result in water hammer due to the long run times and colder pipes. Result again will be too much water and water hammer.

Clogged returns. It is possible that the returns have clogged. Result will be water building up in the main and water hammer.


@ February 12, 2014 1:44 PM in Radiators Hissing and steaming after insulation applied

An oversized boiler can lead to hissing sounds. It is possible that your boiler is oversized.When you add insulation to pipes, in essence the boiler is becoming even more oversized. Just a guess.

Tstat location

@ January 15, 2014 3:51 PM in Howling Wind!

Thermostat location will be a major issue under the current setup. What you might want to consider is moving the thermostat to the second floor and installing TRVs on the first floor radiators to prevent overheating. Not sure if that will eliminate howing but should help balance the temps.

When you have the ghost heating, are the first floor radiators warmer then the second floor radiators?


@ January 15, 2014 2:45 PM in Howling Wind!

1. Make sure that the radiator is pitched BUT not over pitched.

2. Make sure radiator valve is fully open.

3.Avoid big setbacks.

4. Try removing radiator air vent and see if noise stops. DO NOT stand too close to radiator. Steam can burn skin.

There are some other things you can try. Start with these and see what happens.


@ January 14, 2014 8:00 PM in Copper Pres Fittings Brand (Viega vs Nibco vs Cello)

Pexsupply has just about everything. There were certain fittings they didn't carry. Shot them an email and now they carry them. What a pleasure!


@ January 6, 2014 9:31 AM in Steam Boiler Leak / Crack - Replacement Really Needed?!?

I wouldnt touch a Utica with a ten foot pole. They are side outlet boilers. Very problematic for steam. Might be good idea to get a second pair of eyes on this system. A leak anywhere in the system can cause the boiler to run out of water. Might not be the boiler. Have the tenant fill the boiler above the top and see if any water ends up on the floor.


@ January 6, 2014 9:23 AM in radiator enclosers/efficency

Radiator enclosures will either increase or decrease the amount of heat that ends up in the room Depends on design. A poorly designed enclose can trap the heat in the enclosure. Not very efficient to pay all that money to heat the inside of a box.


@ January 3, 2014 3:09 PM in 66 degrees on first floor, 78 on second - how to adjust?

Cant say that I agree with that approach. Radiator air vents should be sized based on the amount of air in each radiator. The only difference between the first floor and second fr is approx 10 feet of 1" or 1 1/4" pipe. The extra pipe does not contain that much air.
If the mains are not properly vented then you could end up like a dog chasing his tail. The radiator enclosure thing is serious. Could make world of a difference in heat output. Could be in the 50% range
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