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Steamhead

Steamhead

Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on April 23, 2014

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If that's the company I'm thinking of

@ January 30, 2003 5:12 PM in when oil deliveries fail

with the first initial of C, I've seen some bad performance from them in Baltimore too. Not all their people are bad, but the trouble is you never know who you're going to get. Johnny, one of the nice things about oil heat is the choices you have. If you're using a supplier that falls down on the job, get some recommendations and switch suppliers! You can't do that with gas, and since gas companies are mostly deregulated now there really isn't any price-per-BTU advantage. You really are better off with a locally-owned, family-run business. That's the kind of company I use. Too bad Carroll-Independent doesn't operate in your area- they do a great job. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

What a mess

@ January 30, 2003 4:54 PM in I have seen the enemy & it ain't just us (PAH)

I hate to have to say this, but if I were that HO I'd sue those incompetent fools. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

John, I have

@ January 29, 2003 5:38 PM in EDR ?

some old convector literature- Dunham, Trane and Herman-Nelson. Do you know who made the convectors on that system? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

In order for a Programmable Thermostat

@ January 29, 2003 5:12 PM in Automatic Thermostats and Steam Boilers?

to work well on steam, the system must respond quickly to a call for heat. This is possible when the steam pipes are insulated, mains and radiators properly pitched and vented, and the boiler clean and in proper tune. These items in themselves will also lower the fuel consumption. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Betcha

@ January 29, 2003 5:08 PM in Slant-Fin steam baseboard

water hammer did that. It's pretty powerful! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Not sure

@ January 29, 2003 5:05 PM in steam boiler ran for 11 hours today!

but that looks like 2-inch pipe to me. Measure the outside diameter of the short piece between the tee and the elbow in the above photo. It will be 1/4" or so larger than the inside diameter of the pipe, which is how pipe sizing is given in this type of system. Given 2-inch pipe and 20 feet of length, a Gorton #1 or Hoffman #75 main vent is the right one to install. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

That amount of motion

@ January 29, 2003 5:00 PM in Surging question

should not be a problem, Kevin. I've never seen a boiler where the water level didn't move up and down slightly when it was steaming. But if it gets much worse than that, the boiler should be cleaned. "Near-boiler piping" refers to the way the piping around the boiler is configured. The proper configuration is critical, especially with newer boilers. The manufacturer provides detailed installation instructions which should be followed closely. Dan covers this and many, many other things in his book "The Lost Art of Steam Heating", which you can order from the Books and More page of this site. It's worth getting even if you won't be working on your system yourself. How about taking a picture of your boiler and posting it here? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

The lack of a proper header is doing that

@ January 29, 2003 4:49 PM in Utica Boiler spitting water

I'll bet you don't have 24 inches between the maximum water level and the bottom of what passes for a header. Here is a shot of what it looks like in those risers, and why you need the 24-inches minimum. I like to go even higher than that if I can. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

You might also

@ January 29, 2003 4:41 PM in Whine but no grapes

want to ditch the zone valves and install a properly sized circulator on each zone. This would work better especially with primary-secondary pumping. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Compare that to this

@ January 29, 2003 7:53 AM in Utica Boiler spitting water

and you'll instantly see the problem. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Vaporstats and overshooting

@ January 29, 2003 7:44 AM in Setback thermostats and steam heat

If a system is overshooting a Vaporstat can help. When running ounces instead of a pound or two, you're compressing less steam into the rads. So there's less steam condensing and giving off 970 BTUs per pound of latent heat. While this may not completely cure the problem, it will certainly help. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Ron's right

@ January 29, 2003 7:35 AM in Slant-Fin steam baseboard

there just isn't enough room in that baseboard for steam and water to keep out of each other's way when connected one-pipe. But it works great as two-pipe! Here's a shot of some we installed on a two-pipe Orifice Vapor system. On that system even cast-iron baseboard might not work right. But current model small-tube radiators, in all their compactness, might be the answer. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

The Vari-Vac

@ January 29, 2003 7:27 AM in steam vari vac systems

was (and is- they still make it) probably the most elaborate control system for steam heating. When it works, it's great. But like most steam-related things, you have to understand it before you can straighten it out. There were several versions and levels of Vari-Vac controls available. These changed over the years. If you can tell us what controls are on that system- including the electric steam valves, heat balancers, windowstats, control panels etc- we should be able to identify it. Noel and I both have catalog info on these systems (thank you Ray Little, Dead Man) so one of us can e-mail you what you need. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I think Noel's got it

@ January 29, 2003 7:12 AM in steam boiler ran for 11 hours today!

check your vents at the ends of the steam mains. If there aren't any, that's at least part of the problem. If you do have main vents they may be too small. Measure the length and diameter of your mains and tell us what (if any) vents are on them to be sure. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

But

@ January 28, 2003 8:51 PM in Dublin Bay

did you visit the original Baltimore? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Inhaling

@ January 28, 2003 8:49 PM in Hissing and Spitting

This is due to vacuum forming in the system as steam condenses after boiler shuts off. There are two things that will help. 1- crank the pressure down. It should cut out at 1-1/2 pounds max, back in at 1/2 pound- this will avoid compressing so much steam in the system. 2- Insulate all the steam pipes- this will eliminate steam condensing in the pipes. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I've done it that way

@ January 28, 2003 8:27 PM in Steam troubles

and it works. Make sure you have at least a 3 foot depth in the seal itself and more if you can get it. You'll have pressure coming at the seal from both sides so it shouldn't blow out. Also install a boiler drain on a tee at the very bottom of the seal. This can be used to flush dirt out of the seal, and you can also fill it with a hose thru this drain. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

My 3 cents

@ January 28, 2003 12:54 AM in Setback thermostats and steam heat

you're both steam geniuses! I recently resurrected an old Paragon 7-day timer/dual thermostat setup in an old factory building with one-pipe steam. When I get an idea of how well it works I'll let you all know. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

The \"experts he could consult\"

@ January 28, 2003 12:50 AM in Alabama farm house

are right here, Lisa. If you were near Baltimore I'd be right over! How about taking some pictures of the boiler, radiators, ends of steam mains and the boiler room piping and posting them here? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

And

@ January 28, 2003 12:44 AM in unyoking a double weil mclain

vent those mains! You say the mains are 120 feet long- what diameter is the pipe? I'm sure you need Gorton #2 vents- question is, how many? If we know the pipe diameter and length we can figure out what vents you need and how many. www.gorton-valves.com To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Maybe

@ January 28, 2003 12:39 AM in leaky radiator valve

you just don't have it quite tight enough. If it keeps leaking, coat the threads with pipe dope that has Teflon in it. Also spread a bit on the faces of the union where they join together. This may solve your problem. If you see any cracks in the union, tailpiece or valve body, the valve will need to be replaced. This can be difficult, so your best bet would be to go to the Find a Contractor page of this site to locate someone who can handle it. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

TJ, is that cast-iron

@ January 28, 2003 12:35 AM in Slant-Fin steam baseboard

or fin-tube baseboard? If fin-tube, what size is the pipe running thru the elements? These will affect the answers I give you. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"