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Steamhead

Steamhead

Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on April 15, 2014

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Maximum allowable

@ January 16, 2003 7:40 PM in co and boilers

is 400 PPM. But most of us, including myself, think that's way too high. I'd shoot for a maximum of 50 PPM- lower if possible. If you have trouble getting the CO reading down, check with the boiler manufacturer. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Dual-purpose riser

@ January 16, 2003 5:02 PM in Riser to nowhere ?

That's definitely your bathroom radiator. Sounds like the vent has gone bad- replace it with a standard radiator vent. Since they took this riser into the attic my guess is they were providing for a room to be built up there. Though the 1-inch feed from the main sounds a bit small. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Dimensions

@ January 16, 2003 4:58 PM in BTUs for cast iron baseboard

Is this baseboard 7 or 9 inches tall? And does it have slots along the top or not? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

John, also take a look

@ January 16, 2003 4:47 PM in Basic Diagrams for the Home Inspector

at the Books and More page of this site. The material isn't free but it's some of the best out there. I don't know anyone who does a better job of writing about steam and hydronic (hot-water) heat than Dan does. I'd suggest you start with "The Lost Art of Steam Heating" and "How Come?". These books cover the basics of steam and hydronic heating. If you're interested- and I think you might be- you can order more books. Dan also has videotaped some of his seminars and these are well worth buying too. On the gas side, I suggest you contact Tim McElwain at Gas Appliance Service, Training & Consulting. Start with his Fundamentals of Gas manual. It, too, covers the basics. The section on Carbon Monoxide is the best I've seen so far and is worth the price of the manual in itself. E-mail Tim at gastc@cox.net or call him at (401) 437-0557. We've all heard home-inspection horror stories. I appreciate the fact that you're searching for knowledge that will help you do the best you can. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Dirt

@ January 16, 2003 4:21 PM in rads randomly cold

could also be causing water to back up in the vents. Try boiling them in vinegar and see if that helps. Dan also has vent-sizing info. Go to the Books and More page of this site and order the "Dead Men's Steam School" video and workbook. It's basically a steam seminar on VHS and Dan did an excellent job. The workbook contains all the information you need to size all the air vents on your system. Gorton makes some really nice vents- I especially like their #2 main vent which was originally designed for Vapor, but works well on One-Pipe mains over about 40 feet of 2-inch pipe too. If you talk to Ken Kunz at Gorton, tell him Chuck and Steamhead sent you. He's one of the best. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Combination One-pipe/Two-pipe, air-vent system

@ January 16, 2003 3:14 PM in steam in the return

is what you have there. Steam is getting thru the radiators close to the boiler, then going thru the return and entering the living room radiator the wrong way, aided by the air vent on the return. There should not be an air vent on the return in this system. Relocate that vent to a point on the steam main near where the living room, dining room and two second-floor radiator takeoffs come together. This will get the steam to that point quickly, and assuming the vent is properly sized, the system will be much better balanced. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I concur

@ January 16, 2003 2:56 PM in Convert 2 pipe steam system to hot water?

a 2-pipe system that age is probably Vapor. These were the Cadillac of heating in their day, and with a new steam boiler are still some of the best out there. I'd keep the steam. Have you been able to locate any manufacturer's info on your system (Dunham, Trane, Webster etc)? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I agree

@ January 15, 2003 5:54 PM in new boiler - new noise

you're definitely over-pumped. This sounds like a gravity system that was converted to forced circulation. Assuming the 96K figure is matched to the amount of radiation in the system, you need a flow rate of 15 gallons per minute (GPM). On gravity conversions, it seems to be standard practice to pick circulator capacities at a head (back-pressure) of 3-1/2 feet. Your 26-64 will pump 20 GPM at this head. The Taco 007 will pump 17 GPM at this head, and a Taco 005 will pump 15- exactly what you want. This might not sound like much difference but "less can be more" on a gravity conversion. I'd lose those iso-flanges. As you've seen, they can be noisy. Using full-port ball valves on the boiler supply and return piping works much more quietly and is easier on the pump. And always Pump Away from the air separator/expansion tank connection. To figure radiator sizes if needed, get Dan's "E.D.R." book. For more about Pumping Away, get Dan's "Pumping Away". Both are available on the Books and More page of this site. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I'll bet the existing vent

@ January 15, 2003 5:31 PM in radiator problem

is an adjustable Hoffman #1A or Dole #1A. Since it blows steam it should be replaced. All the names we mentioned in this thread so far- Gorton, Dole, Hoffman- make good stuff. The key is to size them correctly. The Hoffman #40 is one of the slower vents out there, but this is perfect for small radiators. The Dole and Hoffman #1A vents, when wide open, have about the same capacity as a Gorton #6 which is considerably more than the Hoffman #40. Also check the ends of the steam mains. There should be vents here too- big enough to vent all the air in the main in about a minute. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

You also may have

@ January 15, 2003 5:24 PM in EDR

an air-venting problem. Are there large vents at the ends of your steam mains? What type of system is it- one-pipe, Vapor etc.? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Info you need

@ January 15, 2003 5:20 PM in cast iron radiators

is readily available. First, order a copy of Dan's book "E.D.R." on the Books and More page of this site. It has charts showing capacities for almost any radiator you may encounter. Next, when it gets really, really cold, see how hot the water gets in the boiler (unless you have a boiler with a tankless coil which always stays hot). This will probably be 150-170 degrees, never more than 180 for these old iron radiators. You will need this info to see how many BTUs per hour are emitted by each square foot of radiation. Then, you need to do a heat-loss calculation on each room you plan on putting a radiator in. Go to the Free Heat Loss Calcs page of this site to order Slant/Fin's easy-to-use calc program. When you know how many BTUs each room needs, you can select a radiator that will supply them at the system's maximum water temperature. Then you can size your piping. Sounds like a lot? I thought so. Try the Find a Contractor page of this site to locate a Wethead near you. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

It's Hard to stop a Trane

@ January 15, 2003 5:02 PM in Trane Vapor Vacuum System

First check to see if the vent trap is actually venting. It's possible the vacuum check is stuck. I'd remove the vacuum check since the vacuum may be causing "expanded air" which can block the flow of steam. Vacuum really doesn't work well with oil or gas firing. Then, check to see if the overhead ("dry") return line gets steam-hot. It shouldn't. If it does, you have a trap that's blowing steam which pressurizes the return and slows or stops the flow of steam. Be sure to feel along the entire length of the dry return. If you feel steam, trace it back along the return and up the branch line to the offending radiator. Some Vapor system installers piped radiator traps between the end of the steam main(s) and the dry return(s). These acted as steam main vents. If your system has these, check them like any other trap. It's also possible the Return Trap is leaking. Feel the steam line between the boiler header and the Return Trap. It should not get hot as soon as the boiler starts to produce steam. If it does, it will slow or stop circulation. You can get replacement innards for almost any trrap from Barnes & Jones or Tunstall. Also, Tunstall can rebuild the Return Trap if needed. If that system uses regular vents on the steam mains, I recommend the Gorton #2 as a replacement. www.barnesandjones.com www.tunstall-inc.com www.gorton-valves.com To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

If you compare

@ January 14, 2003 8:32 PM in Steam boiler efficiency

a well-operating hot-water system with a poorly-operating steam system, then the hot-water is more efficient. But a well-operating steam system approaches the efficiency of a well-operating hot-water system, assuming the boilers are similar. There is much less water to be heated in a steam system than in a hot-water system. And with a modern boiler and good venting and pipe insulation, you start making steam in a few minutes and it gets to each radiator shortly thereafter. The key is how efficient the distribution system is. Once the boiler adds heat to the water, its job is done. From that point, the system must move the heat to the rooms. This is where many steam systems lose efficiency, but the problem is easily fixed. Both steam and hot-water are much, much more comfortable than scorched-air! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Gorton #6

@ January 14, 2003 8:19 PM in radiator problem

does have a float, Ron. I believe it was the Gorton #1965 that didn't. All current Gortons have floats in them. The Heat-Timer Vari-Valve also lacks a float. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Master Venting

@ January 14, 2003 8:15 PM in Balancing large building

is a method that baically splits the job into two parts: 1- Venting the steam mains (and risers if applicable) 2- Venting the radiators. The main vents are probably too small. They need to be big enough to vent all the air in the mains in about a minute. So we need to know how much air is in the mains, and how much air a vent will vent. You can find the above info in the workbook that comes with Dan's "Dead Men's Steam School" video- and the video itself walks you thru it step by step. Order it on the Books and More page of this site. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Try

@ January 14, 2003 8:10 PM in copper radiators for steam?

using cast-iron baseboard. At the moment, Burnham is the only one i know of that makes it for steam. Or try Slant/Fin Multi-Pak 80 baseboard with the steel H-6 element. The Multi-Pak, however, will cool down faster than a cast-iron radiator will. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

The one who

@ January 14, 2003 7:54 PM in KeySpan in today's Newsday - Dan H.

didn't do a CO test! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Didn't come thru

@ January 14, 2003 7:52 PM in steam in the return

try converting to a .jpg file if you haven't already, and try again. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I think it's an air problem

@ January 12, 2003 8:36 PM in Broomell steam - It wasn't broke but we fixed it anyway! Heeelp!

the radiators on that system vent thru the traps into a "dry" (above the waterline) return which carries the air and condensate to the boiler room. The condensate drops back into the boiler and the air escapes thru a large vent. On earlier Broomells, the vent was part of a regulator that operated the dampers on the coal-fired boiler. If the dry return vent was removed, or is inoperative, air will not vent from the radiators. The old leaky Broomell valves allowed the air to escape from the steam mains and risers. Steam pressure then compressed the remaining air, allowing some steam to get into the radiators. Installing the new valves kept the air from escaping, leading to the present situation. That system was probably designed to run at 8 ounces or so. You need a large vent such as a Gorton #2 on the dry return. You may even need more than one- if the air escapes loudly from a single vent, install another for a total of two. And I'd definitely install a Vaporstat on that system. Get the one that cannot be set higher than 1 PSI. www.gorton-valves.com To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Good question!

@ January 12, 2003 5:32 PM in Cool Tool (Steamhead)

I've never done a full heat-loss on this house- kind of like the shoemaker's kids having the worst shoes in town, eh? All in good time. I did reduce the firing rate from .85 to .75 GPH this past fall, since the burner was really short-cycling with the increased heat-transfer efficiency brought on by the smaller circ. The delta-t can be measured across a radiator too, not just on the mains. This can give you an idea of just what's going on inside the rad, and how much heat is going into the room. As I write this, it's 27 degrees outside and 62 inside, and the last rad on the long loop is 91 degrees at the inlet and 81 at the outlet. This averages out to 86 degrees, which would put out about 75 BTU per square foot EDR. The rad is 52.5 square feet, so the room is getting 3937.5 BTU per hour. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Orifices

@ January 12, 2003 5:09 PM in No Steam Traps? and lots of water hammer.

could have been located on the supply or the return- early Trane Vapor systems had them built into the radiator return elbows. After it became practical to control a coal-fired boiler within a few ounces, supply-side orifices came into use. I think your basic problem is air. Except for the "2-pipe, air-vent system", most 2-pipe steam installations routed air from the rads into a dry (above the boiler waterline) return, from which it was vented in or near the boiler room. Your condensate line on the ground floor sounds like a wet (below the waterline) return, with the trap at the pump serving to keep water in the return (false water line). Did this return always approach the boiler- old one as well as new one- below the waterline? Think like air. If you were air, could you get out of that system? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Any supply house

@ January 11, 2003 7:34 PM in Dunkirk sight glass

should have replacements. Take the old one with you or measure its length, most replacements have to be cut to fit. Don't overtighten the new one or it may crack. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"