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Joined on May 5, 2011

Last Post on July 22, 2014

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Really old gas valve?

@ June 13, 2014 10:15 PM in Really old gas valve?

This valve is in a small section of galvanized pipe in my basement.  It appears to be a Hays valve and the piping is 1/2".

Does anyone have any clue how old this is?  The house was built in the 1860s and my only guess is perhaps this piping fed gas lights because it seems too small for anything else except maybe a cooking stove?
House only had electric and oil when we moved in and then I ran all new gas piping.  Later on I found this and thought it was interesting.


@ June 13, 2014 3:39 PM in steam in the summer!

I originally had mine set around 120F until I read several reports regarding Legionella and decided to increase it to 140-145F.

I wonder if it's a concern as I have city water that definitely has chlorine in it, but I figured better safe than sorry.


@ June 13, 2014 2:48 PM in TRV, with remote sensor or no?

I have two TRVs in use and part of me wishes I could locate the sensors away from the outside walls.

The outside temperature as well as wind have a decent effect on mine. Problem is from what I've seen to use a remote sensor they don't give you much distance and I'd need to protect the capillary somehow.

It's a shame no one makes a wireless setup for this yet?


@ June 13, 2014 2:22 PM in Steam-Heated Hotel!

I hope they allow you to bring the system back to how it should be. If anyone can it's you and Gordo.

But Steamhead, please, I beg you, buy a new phone. ;)

HTC One and Iphone 5S both take amazing pictures and impressive video. An Ottobox case would protect it decently and you could take thousands of beautiful pictures on the fly.

Many of the later pictures in my link in my signature were done with an HTC One often without a flash.


@ June 12, 2014 1:19 PM in Radiators

No, not a stupid question.
I assume radiators got their name just because no one really knew at the time.

Convectors 100% work on convection, as does baseboard heat but baseboard has a different name.

From what I've seen personally in my home I'd say radiators work on convection more than radiation but I still think 60\40 or 70\30. When you get one of my radiators full of steam the amount if air movement is insane.

This is a picture of curtains ballooned up from heat flowing up and out of the radiator. Our new curtains I think have the bottoms sewn together to stop this.


@ June 11, 2014 1:55 PM in Radiators

If I had to guess, I'd say convection more, maybe 60/40?

Curious why you're asking?

Time to fix!

@ June 11, 2014 9:53 AM in Oh look what I found in my closet

The time to fix this mess is finally here and we will either be notching the wall or tearing it down and rebuilding it further back so I can put the pipe back in it's proper spot.

The venting arrangement may change, but I do prefer venting my longer runouts separately from the radiator.

The white in the hole is the pipe insulation on the horizontal copper pipe just under the floor.

Oven times

@ June 9, 2014 10:09 AM in gas range,no vent?

There has been times where my wife has baked cakes nonstop from 6AM to 12AM and the oven runs nonstop. Well, the burner cycles, but it's in use nonstop for that time.

I was using a deep fryer over the weekend and once again was glad to have a decent fan exhausting to the outside. Even though it was a tiny electric deep fryer with a lid I still sat it on the stove under the hood and was glad to exhaust the stink and moisture outside.


@ June 8, 2014 6:50 PM in Sizing New Gas Steam Boiler

If only using a thermostat as a control on colder days it could cycle some yes.

Kind of

@ June 8, 2014 4:21 PM in Sizing New Gas Steam Boiler

Like you said, 1.5psi is pretty high.  I'd rather the system never see more than an ounce or two.


@ June 8, 2014 12:54 PM in Sizing New Gas Steam Boiler

I don't make pressure very fast.  In fact, my 3 PSI gauge practically never moves.  I vent my mains very fast for their size and I vent my radiators as fast as I can without causing problems.

By problems I mean stealing steam from another, or causing the steam to take a shortcut across the bottom.  Have a look at the link in my signature and there is a map of my system and the current vents in use.  My system heats fast because of my venting and insulation, not because of pressure.

Because you have very little time I highly recommend following whatever Joe recommends. 


@ June 8, 2014 11:37 AM in Sizing New Gas Steam Boiler

Ah, you're working with Jstar?  You're in good hands!

I had the system trip at 1.5 PSI one time and it took 1 hour and 15 minutes.  I even have a video of it, though the camera's battery died just before the pressuretrol tripped.  I couldn't believe it.

Edit : sorry, apparently the memory card ran out according to my notes on the video.

Dead men

@ June 8, 2014 11:30 AM in Sizing New Gas Steam Boiler

I believe the dead men typically set things up for super slow vents and a coal boiler.  Completely different world than we are in now.  I think the safer bet would be to have your lowest fire slightly under the total radiation amount.  This would allow the use of TRVs as well without causing problems.  Worst cast the boiler will go back to high fire and then drop down again and won't do it a lot unless you're really far off.   Also, the room temperatures effect how much steam a radiator can use as well, the colder the room the more steam it wants.

Keep in mind, I'm not a professional and I do not do this for a living.  I just have a lot of time on my hands to think about things.


@ June 8, 2014 11:24 AM in Sizing New Gas Steam Boiler

For the last few months of the heating season I was running 2 cycles per hour so usually it was sitting for about 20 minutes before firing up again.  Before that, if the system sat for an hour or two it would take approx 5 minutes.  Again, a majority of this was getting the water up to boil.
My 3 minute figure is accurate from December to March.
I have 1" insulation on 98% of my piping though I'm still slacking on putting the fitting covers on. 


@ June 8, 2014 11:07 AM in Sizing New Gas Steam Boiler

Because as I said, you heat the piping and then the radiators.
Sure, the less heat you put out the longer it takes to heat the piping, but I also don't buy into the "all energy used to heat the water before steaming is lost" theory.  I think much of what is lost through the boiler jacket ultimately ends up in the structure especially if it's in the basement below the building.  I also believe the majority of the heat lost through pipe insulation also ends up in the structure as well.

A high/low setup or modulating burner is certainly superior and gives the best of both worlds, fast heating and then a nice low burn, but the majority of people have fixed rate setups and in those situations I will always push for a slower system.

The majority of the heating season I get steam to my radiators in around 3 minutes.  Steam reaches every one at the same time.  From an ice cold start it can take up to 20 minutes but most of that is just getting the water boiling.


@ June 8, 2014 11:01 AM in Sizing New Gas Steam Boiler

I think I can agree with most if not all of that.
Using what is considered to be an "undersized boiler" can be very tricky without a doubt.

Completely disagree

@ June 8, 2014 10:44 AM in Sizing New Gas Steam Boiler

bc3510, I completely disagree, please see my post at the bottom.  Before steam gets to the radiators every ounce of output goes to heating piping and in my case, there is no way I need 125,000 btus worth of input to heat my piping.  Maybe 10,000btu.


@ June 8, 2014 10:40 AM in Wife HATES old steam radiators. Don't care for covers. Alternatives?

I hate to say it but I actually like them too.
The only issue I'd have is they may reduce output some due to how small the top vent is.


@ June 8, 2014 10:09 AM in Wife HATES old steam radiators. Don't care for covers. Alternatives?

Wasn't intended to be snarky.
If I was you, I'd have the steam system tuned up, get things working properly and silently like they should.  I would then have a few mini-splits installed.

Doesn't mean that works for you or the wife, but it's what I would do if I was you.


@ June 8, 2014 9:14 AM in Wife HATES old steam radiators. Don't care for covers. Alternatives?

Mini-split systems are a lot more efficient (double under some conditions I think?) than central air.

They also don't need duct work or to make your walls look like swiss cheese to install.

Risk to children?

@ June 8, 2014 8:22 AM in Wife HATES old steam radiators. Don't care for covers. Alternatives?

You just said you grew up with single pipe steam, how did you make it out alive without protection from those burning hot radiators?
We're about to have a baby and the last concern I have is them somehow managing to burn themselves on one of my bare radiators.  Steam radiators are not hot enough to cause an instant burn and I certainly hope my child has the brains to not hold a body part there long enough.  I know our cats and Chihuahua manage just fine.  Sorry, but I've heard many people make this argument and it's just annoying now. 

Ugly is of course a personal opinion and I really can't argue that, personally, I like how they look.  I grew up in a house with forced hot air and honestly even if I hated how the radiators looked I'd still keep them.  Every time we visit my parents who have forced hot air I get reminded of how much I hate it and they have a modern 90% system in a house they built in 2006.

I can, and do regulate two of my rooms individually with single pipe steam.  Have a look at the pictures in my signature and you'll see two TRVs I installed.  They work beautifully.


@ June 7, 2014 5:04 PM in Boiler replaced - Boiler trap removed

I suspect it may be easiest if you pipe that boiler similar to how I piped mine as it looks like the mains line up in the same fasion.  Have a look at the pictures found in the link of my signature.

I used two 2" risers out of the boiler into a 3" drop header, though if I could redo it I'd probably run 3" out of the boiler part way into reducers as it may produce drier steam and wouldn't cost much more.  Not sure what size tappings the boiler you're working with has, many only have 2".
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