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The Wall


Joined on February 27, 2010

Last Post on September 1, 2014

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Red flags

@ December 31, 2012 2:35 PM in $50 if you can figure this out...

Most conventional two pipe systems have steam traps that separate the steam mains and returns. If the traps fails, steam will disturb this balance and cause noise, or uneven heating. Adding a vent to the radiator will work...but not work well.

If the steam needs to be "pushed faster", then there is something else going on, too. Either the pressure is to high (already addressed), or there are piping issues in the system or around the boiler.


@ December 31, 2012 1:41 PM in Probe type LWCO failure

Has anybody checked if this was wired correctly?


@ December 31, 2012 1:38 PM in $50 if you can figure this out...

And is a big red flag that there are other problems with the system. Unfortunately, vents are cheap...maintenance is expensive.


@ December 31, 2012 1:35 PM in header connection questions

You can wrap the asbestos in UL listed silver tape to avoid disturbing it while working on the piping.


@ December 31, 2012 1:32 PM in Oversized Boiler, now what?

That rad vent looks older than its useful life. You can upgrade it with a newer one. That's the easiest first step.

If you post the lengths of the seam mains, we can recommend what to do with the main vents.


@ December 31, 2012 1:28 PM in $50 if you can figure this out...

A person can blow hard enough to lift water a few feet. That's enough to overcome any sags or traps, sending the water back to the boiler. However, it is only a temporary fix. The noise will eventually come back.


@ December 31, 2012 1:25 PM in keep having to refill boiler

White cloud = leak. Verify this by overfilling the boiler and looking for water on the floor, or inside the boiler.

Time for a new boiler.


@ December 31, 2012 12:32 PM in $50 if you can figure this out...

You won't need a lot of pressure to do it. I often just remove an air vent and blow into the radiator to move trapped water in concealed piping. That would be a good test. BUT FIRST make sure the steam if off!!!


@ December 31, 2012 12:25 PM in Oversized Boiler?

You are right about the sizing. Down-firing is incredibly inefficient, and sometimes dangerous, both to you and the boiler. Don't do it. There is a reason why boilers come in multiple sizes.


@ December 31, 2012 11:42 AM in Arcoleader Boiler age?

Most likely 1950's.


@ December 31, 2012 9:33 AM in leak checking a water cooled condenser

Instead of pressure testing the refrigerant side, I'll drain the water, recover the refrigerant, and pressure test from the water side of the condenser. No cutting, no brazing.


@ December 31, 2012 9:01 AM in $50 if you can figure this out...

You can find my company info in my profile, from the signature below. Or email me at

Have you talked to any other tenants? Do they have the same problem?


@ December 31, 2012 8:55 AM in Oversized Boiler, now what?

Never remove burners. You can create a very unsafe condition, both for you, and the boiler.

27% is not the worst we see. As long as the boiler is installed above and beyond the minimum requirements, and go real heavy on venting, you can smooth out a lot of the oversizing symptoms.

I would vent the radiator closest to the thermostat a little slower.


@ December 31, 2012 8:52 AM in Knocking Radiator in 120 yr. Old House

Definitely a newly mis-pitched pipe.

Where are you located? We can suggest a real steam specialist that would NEVER recommend "living with it"!


@ December 30, 2012 11:54 PM in $50 if you can figure this out...

It's not worth looking at only one radiator. I (and any good steam contractor) would be willing to help you, but only if we have access to the whole system. The landlord needs to cooperate.


@ December 30, 2012 11:42 PM in $50 if you can figure this out...

Try opening only the return valve. Maybe the supply valve is leaking past.


@ December 30, 2012 10:34 AM in Women in Trades

Man, woman, or beast...this industry needs people who care.

Welcome to The Wall!


@ December 29, 2012 10:14 PM in Furnace vs hot water heater

Sounds like either a gas supply or venting issue. I would have the problem found as soon as possible to make sure hat everything is working safely.


@ December 29, 2012 9:55 PM in In Desperate Need of Advice

Believe it or not, no matter what type of system you have, steam will follow the same rules in each one. So...what's the question?


@ December 29, 2012 2:06 PM in cool dead man pipefitter pendant or charm

More info, please.


@ December 29, 2012 2:05 PM in Question on steam boiler

I just sent you a private message. In the meantime, here's a link to some of our install pictures.


@ December 29, 2012 12:41 AM in Utica Starfire 3 steam boiler- oil burner conversion to gas burner

Here are our Facebook pictures.

The conversion

And the piping

No before pictures. One of the boiler risers was supplying the header AFTER the main risers.

We also replaced one of the twinned Gorton 1’s wih a Gorton 2 after the conversion pictures were taken.
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