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Joined on February 27, 2010

Last Post on September 15, 2014

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@ January 1, 2013 7:45 PM in Point of no pressure change - help me understand

The expansion tank is just a facade. The real reason is the compressed air inside of the tank. When a system is a closed loop, the water can neither expand nor contract unless heated or added manually. And something has to define what the pressure is. With just a loop of water, once the fill valve is closed, the pressure drops to 0 or whatever water weight there may be. With an expansion tank, once the fill valve is closed, the comprssed air still puts pressure on the water. Nothing in the system can affect that pressure in the tank (unless heated or added manually).


@ January 1, 2013 6:22 PM in A post Steamhead responded to a couple years ago

It's relative. 195 is warm compared to 215. As long as they never go above that, there should be no problem.

Pipe sizes

@ December 31, 2012 9:26 PM in $50 if you can figure this out...

The supply is larger beause steam has a greater volume than condensate/water. Pressure difference moves the steam, no matter what the size is.


@ December 31, 2012 6:56 PM in Probe type LWCO failure

Most electricians are terrible with HVAC controls. Find a boiler tech.

You can always add a second LWCO for extra peace of mind.


@ December 31, 2012 6:21 PM in Probe type LWCO failure

You may be on the right track. I would just verify it by doing a few more electrical tests. I see some very dirty LWCO's that still work.


@ December 31, 2012 5:51 PM in $50 if you can figure this out...

It's not your fault. And, you've come to know just how rare good steam work is. At least you want to improve the situation. That's the biggest first step that most contractors don't take.

We don't talk prices here. If you email me, we can discuss it privately.

[email protected]

However, this is really the landlord's problem, not yours.


@ December 31, 2012 5:39 PM in $50 if you can figure this out...

I just imagined the contractor doing the work.

"Man, this system drained really fast! That's weird. Oh well, let's throw in this new heater and get some lunch..."


@ December 31, 2012 5:26 PM in $50 if you can figure this out...

Steam problems are always CAUSED and never just HAPPEN. This radiator is an indication of years of improper work and a lack of steam knowledge.


@ December 31, 2012 5:15 PM in HELP, F09...BOILER WONT STAY ON

Proceed with caution.

Could be bad ignition, bad ground, bad gas or air supply.


@ December 31, 2012 5:13 PM in Oversized Boiler, now what?

The Gorton 2 should be plenty, but more is always better. It's probably not worth going to any more than two of them.

So, one of the radiators is two pipe? Is that the one that doesn't work?


@ December 31, 2012 5:09 PM in Knocking Radiator in 120 yr. Old House

Well, my first step would be to disconnect the radiator and see how and where the valve settles. That could lead you in the right direction.


@ December 31, 2012 5:05 PM in $50 if you can figure this out...

The traps are probably under the floor or in the basement. Unless, the returns all go to their own wet return connection. Judging by the copper piping, I suspect much knuckleheading.


@ December 31, 2012 4:47 PM in Problem with oil burner (hot water baseboard)

Could be any part of that control circuit. Are you able to check the wiring with a multimeter?

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.
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