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Joined on September 15, 2010

Last Post on August 26, 2014

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Pressure too high?

@ March 27, 2014 4:11 PM in radiators hissing from vents, one valve shooting water

Try tightening the bonnet nut right below the radiator valve handle, if that does not work you may need to replace the valve packing.

Do you know if the pressure has always been this high? Is the pressuretrol adjusted down as far as you can? It should be set for 0.5 on the main and 1 on the white wheel inside the front cover and that should turn the boiler off at 1.5 PSI. It's possible the pigtail under the pressuretrol is blocked or that the pressuretrol just is not calibrated.The gauge could be flaky also but if all the air valves are hissing loudly it sounds like the pressure os too high.

What kind of radiator air vents does she have?

Give us more pictures from further back.


Nerver heard of them

@ March 27, 2014 1:39 PM in Steam Trap - Kelmac Jr. Retarder ?

You might try taking one apart to see what the elements look like. If you do post a picture of what you find in there.

Has turning the pressure down changed the way the system acts? Your smart to learn how steam systems work because you can fix 90% of what goes wrong yourself for short money and you can explain what has to be done to a plumber if you get into any hairy piping work. My old steam boiler was only repaired once in it's 16 year life by anybody but me, I did have it cleaned out every year by someone.


More info

@ March 25, 2014 9:15 PM in No steam reaches shut off valves.

A steam boiler has no need for an aquastat if it's not used for domestic hot water UNLESS there is a hot water loop off the boiler that is used for heat.

Post pictures of the boiler and the piping around the boiler.


This might work

@ March 23, 2014 9:45 PM in Does this boiler seem piped right?

If you really want someone local you might try

He is in Milton and he knows whereof he speaks.


I can understand

@ March 23, 2014 6:14 PM in i got to get rid of this steam heat system, i got questions

being upset at the cost of heating oil, especially if you can't get natural gas in your area. A lot of folks had a hard time finding pellets this year and ended up paying a lot more for them when they did because it was a cold winter. Nobody knows what the weather will be like next year - do you feel lucky?

I think they would make a good supplementary heating source but I don't think you'll be happy with it for a primary source of heat unless you intend on spending a lot of money for a complete heating system. It would cost a lot less to get what you have now working efficiently and then using pellets to heat the main area when you are home. Put some money into insulating the house and fix what you have, it will save you money in the long run. Having a pellet system without a regular heating system will make the house less salable when the time comes - not everybody is enamored about tending a stove all winter long and your home insurance carrier might have something to say about it as well.

To answer your question you can just cut the pipes to the radiators and remove the radiators and you can sell the radiators and the boiler (if it's recent and in good shape) but you might regret doing so.


Mine works fine but at lower vac levels

@ March 21, 2014 8:00 PM in Vaporstat sticking / biasing after vacuum

I have a 0-4 mercury bulb based vaporstat that I have run as low as 12oz high and 4oz low limit and it never faulted. It' also reads very accurately which is probably just the luck of the draw. However my system never went over 1/8 revolution of vacuum on my 0-3 gauge so I don't see the depth of vacuum you are seeing.

I run the low end higher now because I have a cycleguard on the new boiler and want the boiler to come back on as quickly as i can if it does trip the high limit - which it only does on long burns in cold weather or when it comes back from a 3 degree setback in the morning.


Pipes, valves and vents

@ March 20, 2014 9:24 PM in Steam boiler banging, hissing and water noise

Can you see the pipe in the basement that goes from the steam main to the radiator that is banging? It sounds like there is water trapped in that pipe because it's slope might be bad. If the radiator is on the second floor you might have to lift the entire radiator (both ends) to correct the slope of a pipe you can't see.

Make sure that radiator valve is all the way open and try a slower air vent on that radiator; as I said earlier the air valves they sell at HD are not very good.


It should be fine

@ March 20, 2014 8:43 PM in pressuretrol psi gauge relationship?

the 0.1PSI is about 1.6oz of pressure and that is enough to fill the pipes with steam. The vacuum you see when the boiler shuts down is normal and shouldn't bother the gauge.

When the boiler is cold you can manually adjust the gauge zero.


It takes almost zero pressure

@ March 20, 2014 8:30 PM in pressuretrol psi gauge relationship?

to run a steam system if the boiler is closely matched to the radiation. On a real cold morning you might see more pressure especially if you were coming back from a night setback.


What model air vents

@ March 18, 2014 9:48 PM in gorton valve

do you have on the radiators and steam mains?

It's normal for a vacuum to form when the system shuts down but having large enough main vents could help.


gauges fail

@ March 18, 2014 9:25 PM in Two pipe system -return main with vent off mainly sucks in during cycle

It might be worth adding an auxiliary 0-3PSI gauge to the system so you know whats going on. Just make sure it's has a pigtail between it and the boiler.


Boiler water maintenance

@ March 18, 2014 7:21 PM in any risk associated with a properly executed TSP cleaning?

TSP is probably very good for boiler cleaning but to maintain the boiler after it's been cleaned and flushed you might want to look into Steam Master tablets. I started using them about 18 months ago and the boiler in my boiler is just as clear as it was back when I started using the tablets. I just drained a little water to check it last week and the water was clear with s light violet hue, the PH measured at 9.5

If you do decide to use it just ignore the instructions, one tablet is good for a small boiler and two would do for most any home boiler. Make sure there is nothing in the boiler but clean water when you add the tablets.


Short cycling

@ March 18, 2014 6:05 PM in Steam Boiler Short Cycling from Pressure

Has the system venting been examined to see if it's adequate. If the venting rate is too low that can cause cycling as well as an oversized boiler. The boiler can be downfired but there are limits to how low you can go.

Post some pictures so we can see if there are issues with the boiler and near boiler piping that might be causing problems.


Main vents?

@ March 17, 2014 3:57 PM in Steam vents ... how can you check if they're good

These are the last vents on the system? Do you have a large enough main vent on the steam main in the basement? If it's not working or too small it will take a LONG time for a radiator vent to let all the air out. The Heatimer Varivalves can cause problems i would avoid them if possible.

Maid O Mist makes a 5L that comes with an assortment of orifices so you can select the one you want.


It depends

@ March 17, 2014 7:05 AM in pressuretrol psi gauge relationship?

If your boiler is well matched to the radiator load then the system can run happily on ounces of pressure. If the boiler is larger than the radiator load it will build pressure and that is why they put a pressuretrol on the system.

Think about adding an auxiliary 0-3PGI gauge so you can see where the system is operating at, those 0-30 gauges are useless at the low end of the scale.


I agree

@ March 16, 2014 10:25 AM in Easy way to clean pigtail / siphon

The air in that sealed pigtail essentially blocks the steam from getting very far. the bottom of the loop in my pigtail gets very hot but the top of the pigtail never gets more than warm and I'm sure that's just because of the thermal conduction of the brass pigtail.


Bad valve seat

@ March 15, 2014 7:00 PM in pressuretrol psi gauge relationship?

Pressure relief valves are known to leak a bit after being actuated so that may have to be replaced.


Bad gauge

@ March 15, 2014 5:50 PM in pressuretrol psi gauge relationship?

Pressure gauges fail more often than pressuretrols do, replace it.


Glad it's working for you

@ March 15, 2014 2:34 PM in Had a leak and Hercules Boiler Liquid worked

I would use this time to plan out exactly what your going to replace it with. Your a lot better off planning a warm weather replacement then having to do it some night when the bottom is falling out of the thermometer.

Find a good installer and have him install the right sized boiler per the manufacturers piping diagram (at a minimum).


Why I didn't but really did

@ March 13, 2014 10:11 PM in converting oil burner to gas

A couple of years ago my oil tank started to weep and i decided it was time to switch to gas given the difference in fuel costs. My boiler at that time was a Burnham v75 and although it was running fine i knew it was not a long lived boiler.

I decided to replace the boiler but I wanted a wet based boiler so i went with the Smith G8 and a carlin ez-gas power burner and a chimney liner. I decided against an atmospheric boiler because i believe a wet based boiler is more efficient and more reliable. The one very good thing about an atmospheric boiler is that it takes very little power to run so backup power in the event of a power failure is easier. I have only had a power outage once in the last 30 years that lasted a day or more in frigid temperature so I decided to go wtth the odds.

The V8 is also not known for being long lived, I would make sure that boiler was gone over with a fine toothed comb to be sure it's in good shape before converting it. If it is in good shape I would convert it as long as I had faith and confidence in the installer. A good installer is worth a lot more that whatever warranty is left in that boiler.


While checking the pigtail (syphon tube)

@ March 12, 2014 7:02 PM in Help! Left water on filling boiler and now...

With the power to the boiler off at the circuit breaker box unwire and twist off the pressuretrol. After checking the pigtail to be sure it's clear, turn the pressuretrol over and make sure the little hole at the base of the brass fitting on the pressuretrol is clear.


If they worked before the new boiler

@ March 11, 2014 9:01 AM in Question about two pipe system

and stopped working after it's install I can pretty much gaurantee that something about the installation was not done properly. Steam systems are very fussy about horizontal pipe pitch and the near boiler piping. The old boiler may have had a larger steam chest and been a little more forgiving. Post pictures of the boiler and the piping around it so we can see what was done. Stand back a bit so we can see how the piping is configured.

Something changed during the installation and we have to figure out what it was that changed.

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