Joined on September 15, 2010
Last Post on December 11, 2013
@ December 17, 2010 3:27 PM in New Boiler causing violent hammeringIf the installers had done that from the get go they would have made some money on this job! I'm glad the manufactures rep backed you up, nice to see them go to bat for the customer.
I hope you and that system have a long quiet relationship.
@ December 17, 2010 11:39 AM in new boiler questionsJulia,
I live just south of Boston in a six room cape that was built in 1918 (steam boiler replaced in 1996) and my upstairs radiators start to heat within a minute or two of the downstairs ones. One key to this is having a large enough main vent on the steam main(s) in the basement. Your pictures don't show any but they may be at the end of the main(s). Ask your installer to make sure the main vents are working and that they are large enough.
Also can you post a couple of pictures on the piping above the boiler so we can see how that is configured? This will let us see if that portion of the piping was done correctly.
@ December 17, 2010 9:08 AM in This is why you have to maintain pressure safety'si don't know what they did but it resulted in an explosion that could have killed someone. The water tank was found 300 feet from the house!
@ December 17, 2010 8:51 AM in Can one overvent the main?You can't overvent a main but you can overvent the radiators. A very high venting rate on a radiator can cause the steam to condense and return at a high rate.
Also uninsulated pipes in the basement can lead to a lot of condensate. Insulate everything you can it the basement. And remember the old maxim - vent your mains quickly and your radiators slowly.
@ December 16, 2010 7:32 PM in Pressure too HighIt is possible that your pressure gauge is not working right. i have the stock 0-30PSI gauge on the front of my boiler as well as an auxiliary 0-3PSI gauge that is mounted beside the vapor-stat.
When the boiler turns off because the cutout of the Vapor-stat is reached, the 3PSI gauge reads 0.75PSI (the set-point of the vaporstat) while the 30PSI reads almost 4PSI (that 30PSI gauge reads just a bit above zero when the boiler is cold).
Those 30 PSI gauges are known to be unreliable at the low end of the scale, the only way to know is to have a low pressure gauge along with the required 0-30 gauge.
Does the gauge glass water bounce up and down a lot when the boiler is making steam? Does the water in the gauge glass look dirty? If so the boiler might have to be skimmed.
Check the near boiler piping against your install manual and post some pictures so we can see what you are dealing with.
@ December 15, 2010 11:58 AM in to repipe or not to repipeI think JPF is right on the money. If the system performs well the better part of valor might be to let sleeping dogs lie. Whenever you take something like this apart there is always the chance you might crack something and that could cost you a new boiler.
My 14 year old Burnham is certainly not piped optimally but given the danger of breaking something that works well and knowing the cost might never be recovered in it's lifetime, I'll let that boiler alone. When the time comes, I'll find an installer that knows what he is doing and do it up right.
@ December 15, 2010 9:00 AM in Advanced Venting QI'd place it under the T so both the gauge and pressuretrol (or vaporstat) would see the benefit.
@ December 15, 2010 8:21 AM in single pipe radiator - air vent leaking waterThe diagram that crash included mentioned the radiator being tilted so water can flow out, put a level on the radiator and make sure it slopes slightly towards the input valve. If it doesn't add some shims under the vent side to get the required slope 9quarters work fine for small adjustments). Also make sure the radiator doesn't have a sag in the middle, it's been there a long time and it has happened before.
Also if you are using the Hoffman 1A what setting is it on? If it's set on 6, a lower setting might tame the spitting. If it does you might be producing wet steam.
@ December 14, 2010 2:48 PM in Radiator Won't Heat!Jeremy,
Your wall mount radiators seem to be 2/3's the size of the radiator that ryan reffered to so it should have an EDR of about 36 sr ft. Four of them would have an EDR of 144 which is well below the 288 that Dans table on pg 89 of TLAOSH rates the riser for - so that theory on riser pipe size is out the window.
BTW I find myself rereading Dans' books everytime I need detailed information, there is an amazing amount of information in them.
Are you sure that horizontal pipe connecting to the radiator is pitched back towards the supply so water can drain out? those short pipes can be misleading so put a level on it.
Other than that I think it's time to play with the venting as Rod suggested. Vent that main more aggressively and try slowing the vent rates on the other radiators on the riser.
@ December 14, 2010 1:50 PM in One Rad coldYour probably best to come off the existing tapping and elbow over 15" or so (make sure you do it so water can flow back to the main) and then a Tee to mount vent #1 - a nipple and an elbow to mount the other vent. You want to get the vents up at least 6-8" from the main. As i said the Gorton #2 is large so you want to make sure you leave clearance for them.
@ December 14, 2010 11:30 AM in One Rad coldi think my mistake was thinking your stated 70 foot 4" was referring to a 70ft long 4" diameter pipe not a 70'4" pipe.
If the OD is 2.5" then it is a 2"ID pipe and that has 2.65 cu ft volume. The two Gorton #2's will do a fine job of venting that main and boiler header. those have 1/2" mounting so you will need reducers to put them on 3/4" pipe nipples.
As to the radiators I would vent them according to the edr of each radiator with a little added for those on the top floor. So A large radiator on the top floor might be set to 4 while the same radiator on the i'st floor would be set a bit lower. A small bathroom radiator might be set to 1 unless it it on a cold corner of the house and then it might be set for 2.
Ideally you would want all the radiators to heat at about the same rate so you have to play around with the individual vent settings to get them balanced. By venting the mains fast and the individual radiators relatively slowly you can get everything balanced. It is an art that takes some fiddling.
@ December 13, 2010 11:15 AM in How Do I Replace Main Vents?Assuming the old vents were installed with teflon tape or pipe sealant it should just unscrew with a pipe wrench and a little effort. If it is stuck, use two wrenches, one to hold the pipe nipple and the other to unscrew the old vent. I removed my 12 year old vent with no trouble at all a few years back.
Are you sure a single Gorton #2 will be enough? Let us know the length and diameter of the pipe and we can tell you how much volume your dealing with.
You want to do this when yje system is off and the pipe is cold or just warm. You don't want to be removing a vent from a pipe with live steam in it.
@ December 13, 2010 8:58 AM in New Boiler causing violent hammeringThat main vent is much too small (Ventrite 35?) and the main looks like a closed loop with radiator leaders coming off it. That setup was fine with coal but not nearly enough for a modern boiler. I'd start by using a longer nipple off the main and then top it off with a Gorton #2 vent. Since the system was designed with the vent in that spot I'd stick with that location until proven wrong. maybo one of the pro's will have an idea on a better location?
The #2 is physically large so you have to play it by ear as far as the nipples length and it has a 1/2" male thread so you may need a reducer on top of the nipple. The Gorton #2 has over 8 times the venting capacity of what I think you have now. You may actually need more venting than that but it will be a huge improvement over what you have now.
I've enclosed a picture of my main vent which is a Hoffman 75 (green at the end of the main where it heads down to the boiler return) and it's bleeding the air from a 16 ft long parallel flow steam main.
@ December 13, 2010 8:05 AM in help with new-to-me steam systemYou should be able to get a 3/4 to 1/2" female reducer at a hardware store or Home depot / Lowes.
The additional height of the reducer plus the Gorton #2 might be to much to slip under rthat beam. Try it to see if it will fit, but with a couple of 90 degree elbows and a 6 or 8" pipe nipple you can move the vent over away from the beam. Make sure the nipple has a slight slope back to the steam main so any water can find it's way back.
@ December 12, 2010 9:29 PM in help with new-to-me steam systemIs this a single pipe steam system?
The steam main vent has to fully vent any air in the boiler, the steam header and the steam main. You said the mains are 40 and 42 feet; if we assume they are 2-1/2 inch pipe then you have about 1.4 cu ft in each main. For that volume you need one gorton #2 on each main.
The doles you have were probably fine for a slow burning coal fire but are no match for a modern boiler. that produces steam much faster than the old boiler did. get the mains venting corrected before trying to balance out the radiators. i assume you are running 1.5PSI as your cutout pressure.
Jamie's comments are all applicable I would advise following them. Post some pictures of your boiler and the near boiler piping from a couple of different angles. Also some pictures of the steam mains and there vents would help.
@ December 12, 2010 9:08 PM in New Boiler causing violent hammeringI am just naive enough to hope that someone who was going top add chemicals to help clean a boiler would take the time to flush out the boiler completely before adding chemicals.
Good luck with your meeting tomorrow, I'd show him the damage he caused to your walls and floor so he has good idea of the damage he's caused.
@ December 12, 2010 8:14 PM in New Boiler causing violent hammeringTom is right about using that tapping to skim the boiler. move the conduit and put in a nipple with a cap on it so you skim anytime it's necessary - better yet have your installer (hence to to known as a knucklehead) put in the nipple and cap since he screwed everything up in the first place.
BTW did they drain the boiler before adding that goop?
@ December 12, 2010 6:56 PM in New Boiler causing violent hammeringDid you you get the Heat Timer Varivalve or the Dole Varivent? There is a difference, the Heat Timers do not have floats so they cannot stop water flow - of course if they had installed things properly you would not have water up there!
The Hoffman 1A's and Dole Varivents do not have the high capacity but it does have a float that will close it if water gets that far. I've attached a picture of the heat Timer and a PDF fore the Doles.
Make sure you turn that Pressuretrol down so the tab on the front is at 0.5, there is a screw on top that allows you to adjust the tab on the front. High pressure will make things worse.
@ December 12, 2010 4:02 PM in New Boiler causing violent hammeringWith the main sloping up from the boiler you have a counterflow system, that means the steam and water are flowing in different directions.
The main vents want to be at the high end of the main, after the last radiator takeoff on each main; that main vent will then vent all the air in the main. That way the radiator vents will just have to vent the radiators and the individual pipes coming off the steam main and you will be able to dial the Varivents way down and the spitting should stop. Of course this assumes the near boiler piping gets configured like the installation manual dictates.
Check the piping to see if there are any tappings that could be used in the main past the last radiator takeoff on each main. How many steam mains does the system have and how long are they? Post a picture of the end of the main(s) so we can see what you have. Once we have that information we can tell how much venting you need on the main(s).
@ December 12, 2010 1:33 PM in New Boiler causing violent hammeringLooking at your pictures again it looks like the steam main is sloping up as it goes away from the boiler. If that is true then the air vent belongs towards the end of the main (pst the last radiator feed). You have to vent the air for the steam to fill the main completely. If your not venting the end of the main your forcing the radiators to do it and that is not good.
If that steam main is highest at the boiler and slopes down as it goes away the vent should be near the point the pipe drops to form the wet return to the boiler.
Make sure the installer didn't change the slope of the main piping above the boiler to mate up with the boiler piping. make sure that steam main slopes the same way along it's length.
You said all the radiators have varivents on them now, what were the old radiator vents? Those are pretty aggressive vents and along with the improper boiler piping you may have brought a lot of wet steam up into the piping where it might be trapped by incorrect pipe slope - and that will cause water hammer. That sort of problem would usually show up quickly but if the weather has been fairly mild it would take longer to become apparent.
@ December 12, 2010 1:09 PM in Main vent help in AtlantaSorry it took me a while ton get back here but if that main is 2.5" ID (2.87" OD) then you have 1.4 cu ft of air in the short main and 2.8 cu ft in the long main. That means you should have a Gorton # 2 on the short main and 2 Gorton #2's on the long main.
Just to be clear I'm including this data for a 2" pipe. If the OD on that main is 2.37 then it is a 2" ID and you have 0.87 cu ft in the short main and 1.74 cu ft in the long main. That indicates 2ea Gorton #1's (or 1ea Hoffman 75) for the short main and 1ea Gorton #2 for the long main.
That old piping is not going to take a lot of abuse and could be a bear to get apart. The better part of valor might be to setup a system like crash has to get that vent back from the end of the main, that would be a lot easier. December is not a good time to play with the pipes if you don't have to. Just make sure the new pipe slopes a bit so any water will flow back to the boiler. Also be aware that Gorton #2's are pretty big. so make sure you have room for them.
@ December 12, 2010 12:47 PM in Advanced Venting QSteve,
I used a 0-3PSI gauge (33020) but some like the 0-20 oz for real low pressure systems. You might want to add a snubber to even out any pulsating on the gauge http://www.valvestore.com/prodinfo.asp?number=32618; I should have put on on my setup because my vaporstat and gauge tends to bounce around a bit at the 0.7 to 0.8PSI point.
The pic below shows how i mounted my 0-3 gauge but I've got a 1/4' union that I'll mount so I don't have to unwire the vaporstat when I want to take things apart. I decided on the vaporstat after my pressuretrol failed for the second time (in 13 years) because i wanted to lower my pressure below the level I could with a pressuretrol. You can get the fittings you need at a hardware store or one of the big box stores.