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Steamhead

Steamhead

Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on August 29, 2014

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Only place I've seen them recently

@ February 28, 2003 3:00 PM in Radiator Vent Valve Keys

is at antique dealers. If you know any, maybe they can keep their eye out for old ones. I still have the original 1924 key that was bought when my house was built. I expect it to outlast me. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

How much radiation do you have in the house

@ February 28, 2003 2:58 PM in BOILER LACKS TEMPERATURE

and what is the capacity ("Net IBR Rating") of the boiler? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I test the same way

@ February 28, 2003 2:54 PM in Cracked HX and NO CO!!

it's the only way to get a clear picture of what's going on thru the entire cycle. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Main vents are sized

@ February 28, 2003 2:46 PM in main vent comparison

according to the amount of air they must vent. We want to vent the mains in a minute, measured from the time the boiler starts producing steam. Each of your mains has 0.46 cubic foot of air in it. A Gorton #2 will vent just over 5 cubic feet of air per minute at 2 ounces pressure. This would be overkill on your system. A Gorton #1 or Hoffman #75 will vent about 1.4 CFM at 2 ounces pressure. One of these vents at the end of each main will work fine. Your e-mail address looks familiar, as does the description of your system- did I work on your system a while back? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Keep the steam

@ February 28, 2003 2:35 PM in Repair, Replace, Convert 1925 Steam system

One of the advantages of steam over hot-water is that most of the pipes drain dry when the system shuts down. That means they won't freeze during a power failure. The exceptions are the wet returns in the basement and the boiler itself. But water damage would be minimal where these pipes run. You can still get parts for your steam traps, and if the vent on the Differential Loop quits the best replacement is a Gorton #2. Nothing beats a new boiler for efficiency. But if it's not time for a new one, the existing boiler can often be upgraded. That's probably not the original boiler. It is a National-US, which was a company formed by the merger of National Radiator and U.S. Radiator in the 1950s. This company later became part of Slant/Fin. The Differential Loop you have was made in the 1920s. The boiler looks like it was an "all-fuel" design which meant it could burn coal, oil or gas. The flue passages inside the boiler are probably rather large- too large to extract all the heat available from oil or gas. However, it may be possible to strategically place bricks or baffles in the flue passages to slow down the hot flue gases so they give up more heat before leaving the boiler. This must be done by a knowledgeable pro. You'll be able to see the results when the stack temperature goes down. The photo doesn't show the oil burner itself. If the burner is an older type, upgrading to a "flame-retention" type will increase efficiency. Flame-retention burners make hotter fires, which often makes it possible to reduce the firing rate and still get the same amount of heat. Vapor systems were the Cadillac of heating in their day, and are still some of the best out there. With proper care, yours will last many more years. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I wouldn't try to patch it

@ February 28, 2003 12:18 AM in Steam leak found

it's probably weak all thru that area. Best replace it, and don't bury it this time. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

It Depends

@ February 28, 2003 12:15 AM in vapor system won't build more than 2 oz.; okay?

many Vapor systems used radiator traps to vent the mains into the dry returns. From there the air left the system thru the dry return vent. You see this a lot on Hoffman and Dunham systems, among others. If the steam distribution is poor, adding main vents will help. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Post-shutdown CO

@ February 27, 2003 6:12 PM in Cracked HX and NO CO!!

I've noticed that too, Mark- CO goes up. I think this is because the air supply slackens off quickly while there's still some fuel in the process of being burned. This seems to be very common on gas ovens. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

First off, fix the leaks

@ February 27, 2003 6:08 PM in basic steam questions

and do a combustion analysis as Mark says. If the boiler cannot be made to burn clean it should be replaced. Also check to see that the chimney is not blocked, this can also cause sooting. There should be a large vent at the end of the steam main before it drops into the return. If not, one needs to be added. This will reduce the boiler's run-time as well as saving gas. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Wow

@ February 27, 2003 5:59 PM in Ancient ducted convectors on steam system

that company isn't even in the Hydronic Rating Handbook! Anyone out there have anything on the Hersh Brothers boilers? I'm sure those old indirect radiators took in outside air originally, and were later rearranged to recirculate inside air. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

It may be possible

@ February 27, 2003 5:44 PM in New Steam Boiler, but one size bigger than ordered!

to down-fire that SGO-4 to more closely match the radiation. But that still doesn't alter the fact that they didn't put in the specified boiler. I'd like to see a pic of the installation too. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I'm sure they'll call you back

@ February 27, 2003 5:40 PM in co

with their tail between their legs, after Mr. Cheapenfast botches the job. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

An ordinary radiator trap

@ February 26, 2003 8:15 PM in Traps and Broomell System

like the Hoffman #17C will work fine. On a larger radiator use the Barnes & Jones #122 since it vents air more quickly. Your radiators should not have vents on them. The air should vent into the dry return and out thru the receiver/regulator (if it's still there) or a large vent mounted on the return. I've seen installations where a separate dry return was installed to service a group of new radiators, but they forgot to put a vent on it. The solution here is obvious! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

It Depends

@ February 26, 2003 7:54 PM in steam boiler replacement?

If your old boiler is a round "snowman" type that used to burn coal (see photo), I'd replace it now. This type of boiler is horribly inefficient. If your boiler is of a newer type, it might not make sense to replace it now. How about taking a picture and posting it here so we can see it? If the system is sluggish or uneven, the boiler is probably not at fault. You may have bad traps or vents that need attention. This may be a Vapor system- have you observed any manufacturer's information on the system's components? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

That's probably all the pressure you need

@ February 26, 2003 7:47 PM in vapor system won't build more than 2 oz.; okay?

if all the rooms are heating up evenly, you don't need any more. If the main receiver/regulator unit near the boiler is gone (see "The Lost Art of Steam Heating", chapter 15, for a photo) you need vents on the ends of the dry returns to discharge the air from the radiators. You also need vents near the ends of the steam mains so the mains will fill with steam quickly. To size vents for steam mains, measure the length and diameter of the mains and post the info here. We can tell you what you will need. You might want to get Dan's "Dead Men's Steam School" video and workbook. This lets you listen to Dan telling all about how steam systems were designed and installed! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Follow these links

@ February 26, 2003 7:38 PM in Radiator protection

if you're gonna use covers, here's how to do it right, so they won't restrict the radiator's output and waste fuel. http://www.heatinghelp.com/newsletter.cfm?Id=77 http://www.heatinghelp.com/newsletter.cfm?Id=115 To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Too late to save Enron

@ February 25, 2003 7:55 PM in Gas Prices

saw regular at $1.71.9 in Cockeysville today (north of Baltimore) and hi-test was $1.87.9. Two days ago I got a tankful of regular at $1.63.9. And they say prices will keep going up............ To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

That's a great system

@ February 25, 2003 7:47 PM in 1887 two pipe steam without traps?

very few moving parts, and it runs on seven ounces or so. Get Dan's books "The Lost Art of Steam Heating" and "The Lost Art of Steam Heating Companion". This type of system appears in both books. Order them on the Books and More page of thi site. In the basement, you may find a cylindrical receiver/regulator unit near the boiler, and a radiator mounted on the ceiling. This radiator was installed to condense any vapor that passed the receiver/regulator. The pipe leading out of this condensing radiator led into the chimney flue. They used the chimney draft to pull steam thru this system! With proper care, this system will last many more years. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Amen, Keith

@ February 24, 2003 12:17 PM in CO

couldn't have said it better myself. George, try the Find a Contractor page of this site to locate someone who can do a meaningful CO test. You may be surprised at what we find. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Nice Job, GasMan

@ February 24, 2003 12:15 PM in CO

and it proves once again, the only real test is that done under conditions of actual use. Bet you had some serious impingement on that old coffee pot! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

You can find the Murrays

@ February 24, 2003 12:06 PM in real old radiator

on pages 133-135 of Dan's book "E.D.R.". Order your copy on the Books and More page of this site. I'm not sure of the other one. Is there a name on it anywhere? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

That return line

@ February 24, 2003 12:02 PM in steam return pipe hammering frequently

may have gotten plugged up, which would cause water to back up into the steam main. Then the steam hits the water, and BANG! If you find it's plugged, I'd replace it. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"