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Steamhead

Steamhead

Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on August 31, 2014

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That wet return

@ May 8, 2003 7:28 AM in gravity return line

is probably in such bad shape you couldn't get a "sleeve insert" inside it. If the concrete floor is very old, it probably isn't that thick and could be broken up easily to bury the new line. You'll hear some differing opinions on this, but I've had very good luck using copper on wet returns. This type of return does not carry any steam so there's no chance of the sweat joints breaking due to expansion. If you have to run the line above the floor and go around any obstacles, it's much easier to do with copper than steel. Whichever way you go, install a drain so the return can be drained out and flushed out. If the steam mains do not have vents at or near their ends, this would be a good time to add tees at this location to install vents on. The system will heat faster and use less fuel with properly-sized main vents. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

You're absolutely right

@ May 7, 2003 7:56 PM in flow restriction

that 1/2" piping really slows down the flow. Betcha the end of that loop doesn't heat properly. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Find a copy of

@ May 7, 2003 7:53 PM in Sizing Tuttle and Bailey in-wall steam convectors

the "Hydronic Rating Handbook" by Tom Byrley. It has charts for those T&B convectors- compare yours to the measurements and specs given in the chart. Most supply houses will have a copy of this book. It costs about $100 to buy. That "chrome thing" is an air vent. Its job is to let air out of the convector element so steam can enter, then close when steam reaches it. There should also be air vents at the ends of the steam mains. Replacing a steam boiler is a big job that needs to be done just right. Try the Find a Contractor page of this site to locate a steam man hear you. If you're in the Baltimore area, e-mail me! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Water Velocity thru the scoop

@ May 7, 2003 7:44 PM in Another old timer bites the dust

also makes a difference. Here's the setup on my Burnham V-14... 20 years young! Has a built-in air separator (the "Eliminaire") topped by a Hoffman #79. This system is a gravity conversion with almost no resistance in those huge old pipes. The B&G 100 circ that came with the boiler was way too big for this system, and the air separator worked, but not that well. Switching to a smaller Taco 005 not only improved the heat transfer in the boiler and radiators, but the air separator works better too! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

The sleeve is the orifice

@ May 7, 2003 7:28 PM in Radiator Traps

Here's the page from 1916 Ideal Fitter, showing how it works. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

That much air in a steam main

@ May 7, 2003 7:11 PM in main vents

would require 4 Gorton #2 vents. Maid-o-Mist doesn't make anything that big. How did you arrive at the 18.29 cubic feet? Did you measure the whole system? Steam mains need to be vented quickly so all radiators have an equal chance at the steam. But on Vapor, the vent on the dry return is often the only vent in the entire system. In a water-seal system like the Mouat, the vent holes coming out of the radiators are rather small. You might be able to get by with one or two Gorton #2 vents on the dry return, depending on how much radiation the system has. Also, the Mouat system illustrated in Lost Art has the dry return vent line going into the chimney. The flue draft was used to pull air from the system. This arrangement works very well, but there must be a way to keep steam from getting into the chimney. A ceiling-mounted radiator or long pipe was used for this. You could also use a large thermostatic trap which would close if steam reached it. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Detroit Lubricator Co

@ May 6, 2003 6:33 PM in Radiator Traps

originally made those "sight-feed" lubricators used on stationary steam and early gas engines. It became a part of American Radiator Co sometime in the early 20th century. Their gear was prominently featured in the "Ideal Fitter" catalogs published by American Radiator. My 1916 Ideal Fitter shows your "Detroit Multi-Port" valve. These could be set, at installation, to only admit enough steam as the radiator could condense. The water seals served as back-up units to keep steam out of the dry return, since in those days boilers could not be regulated to within a few ounces pressure. Later on, these orifice-type valves were used without water seals or traps since accurate regulation had become possible. If any of those old valves have stopped working, Tunstall can rebuild them. www.tunstall-inc.com To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Hoffman #74? Bet it's too small

@ May 6, 2003 6:24 PM in #41 vents sticking

The #74 is a unit-heater vent designed for higher pressures than your system uses. Because of this, the opening in the vent is very small. I'm sure this is at least part of your problem. Start from the header and measure the length and diameter of your mains. With this info, we can tell you what vents you need. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Unless you're really strong

@ May 6, 2003 6:18 PM in Disconnecting steam radiator for rennovations

you will want some help moving that radiator. Disconnecting it shouldn't be a problem. The shutoff valve has a union built into it that can be easily unhitched. If there are two pipes, the return should have a similar union. A slight amount of rust on the surface of a steam heating pipe usually isn't a problem. But if the rust has eaten thru most of the pipe's thickness, replace it. Do not use copper- only black threaded steel pipe. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Doesn't sound like your fault

@ May 6, 2003 6:05 PM in Was it me?

because the system was running after you turned it back on. The switch you turned off was the one with the red plate marked "emergency switch", correct? Or the power switch by the boiler? Either way, you did the right thing by making sure it was working. The system should have started up and continued to work, the same as if there had been a power failure. I don't agree that you need a technician to restart a residential boiler any time the power has been interrupted, as by turning the switch off then back on. If that were true, we'd all be running ragged after each power failure. Sounds to me like they were looking for someone to blame. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Hoffman makes good equipment

@ May 5, 2003 6:50 PM in #41 vents sticking

and while it's possible they had a bad run, it's also very possible you have a problem somewhere else in the system. First- are there vents at the end of your steam mains? Are they the right size? Are they working? If not, the #41s are being overworked, and dirt may be blown into them. This may keep them from closing. Try boiling the vents in vinegar and see if this helps. Measure the length and diameter of your steam mains and we can tell you what vents are needed. Second- what pressure are you running? If this is a one-pipe or two-pipe/air-vent system you should not go beyond 2 pounds. If the Pressuretrol is set where it should be but the pressure still rises too high, you probably have a plugged pigtail. Clean or replace it. On steam systems, the symptoms and the actual problem aren't necessarily in the same place! Maybe it's time you called in a pro. Go to the Find a Contractor page of this site to locate one near you. If you're in the Baltimore area, e-mail me! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Joe, try the Find a Contractor page

@ May 5, 2003 6:41 PM in oversized boiler

on this site. If you're in the Baltimore area, e-mail me! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Here's the man you want

@ May 4, 2003 5:27 PM in HB SMITH BOILER LEAK

Bob Flanagan, Smith rep. E-mail him at rflanagan@mestek.com . I have heard many good things about Bob, and will probably hear many more after he helps you out. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Ahh

@ May 3, 2003 4:03 PM in Who is \"BeeBee\"? (Steamhead)

it must have been you, Bob- I was racking my brains but the answer just wouldn't come. This was the gentleman who lives near BWI Airport, and is planning to finish off the third floor. Perfect opportunity to extend the steam system. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Whoever you are-

@ May 2, 2003 11:24 PM in Who is \"BeeBee\"? (Steamhead)

thanks for the referral! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Put some Baseray in

@ May 1, 2003 9:22 PM in Apartment Building Bathroom Steam Riser

it will be a lot cheaper to run than that electric heater! Plus you can control it with a TRV or adjustable air vent. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Hot Tip

@ May 1, 2003 3:45 AM in Radiator Traps

If you have trouble unscrewing the existing elbow from the pipes, heat the elbow with a torch to a red heat. The heat expands the elbow and also slightly increases the tensile strength of the metal. Be careful to keep the flame from anything that may burn, and have a hose or fire extinguisher handy as a precaution (of course, you knew all this). And turn off the power to any electrical equipment in the area of the pipes. When the elbow is hot, it should be much easier to unscrew it. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I think you've got it, Alex

@ May 1, 2003 3:37 AM in Apartment Building Bathroom Steam Riser

but I'm curious- what are you using to heat that bathroom? If the bathroom is small you could always attach some steam-type baseboard to that riser..... To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I agree

@ May 1, 2003 3:22 AM in Steam problem

the installer probably used the instructions as a knee pad. If they're still there, read the piping diagram. If not, get another set from the manufacturer. Follow them to the letter. Also make sure you have the right main vents, insulate all the steam pipes, and it will run nicely! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

No, replace the elbow itself

@ April 29, 2003 8:36 PM in Radiator Traps

with a tee. You'd end up with a horizontal opening in which you could screw in a short nipple and an elbow pointing up for the vent. This way you don't have to redo any of the existing pipes. Why am I not surprised the hottest radiator in the house is closest to the boiler? This will change quickly when you add the vent! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Limited Wall Space

@ April 29, 2003 9:27 AM in Heat exchangers

and lots of glass? Why not heat it with steam, using a cast-iron radiator? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

The Tee would be a good place

@ April 29, 2003 9:15 AM in Radiator Traps

drill into the side of the tee and tap the hole. Or, you can undo the union and replace the 90-degree elbow on either side with a tee, then elbow up to the vent. What does the pipe do that comes out the top of the tee, then goes over, down and up again? Is that another branch of the dry return? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"