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The Wall
Steamhead

Steamhead

Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on July 29, 2014

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I've done that

@ January 19, 2003 12:48 PM in One pipe system in house under construction

where there was no tee to install a vent and space was limited or someone else had already drilled the main for this type of vent. Sometimes you have to use more than one vent. The Gorton #D radiator vent has the same capacity as the Gorton #1 main vent. If your mains are 2-inch pipe, use one D if theyre shorter than 20 feet long. Between 20 and 40 feet use 2 D vents. However, if there is room, I prefer to drill and tap a 3/8" or 1/2" hole and install Gorton #1 vents in the above situation. This method is also necessary if a 2-inch main is longer than about 40 feet or if the pipe is bigger than 2-inch- in this case, the Gorton #2 is the vent to have. On the existing radiators, try moving the Gorton C vents downstairs and use the smaller ones upstairs for now. In-floor radiant is nice. But if your steam system has enough capacity and you can get some good used radiators in the right sizes, heating the addition with steam might be a good way to go! We have several people here on the wall- Noel, Mad Dog and myself- who have installed steam, and it has worked well. www.gorton-valves.com To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I have a Testo 325

@ January 18, 2003 11:16 PM in Suggestions for CO/draft testers please

and my favorite oil tech has the Bacharach digital unit. I don't think you can go wrong either way. Whichever brand you buy, get the model that can test everything like Glenn said. You'll be glad you did. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Movin' on up.....

@ January 18, 2003 11:08 PM in Steam boiler efficiency

to the top of the Wall, for the benefit of those who posted in the "Steam to hot water conversion in LARGE building" thread, so they can read this one before it drops off the Wall. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

You could achieve similar savings

@ January 18, 2003 11:05 PM in Steam to hot water conversion in LARGE building

by fixing what's there. This situation also has more pitfalls than the usual as your fan coils probably handle at least some outside air. It's much easier for a coil to freeze when running hot-water than with steam. You should look at the "Steam boiler efficiency" thread further down the Wall. As of now it has 24 postings in it on this same topic. I'm going to post to that thread again to move it up to the top of the Wall where it's easier to see. Also check out http://www.heatinghelp.com/newsletter.cfm?Id=22 which lists the usual pitfalls in this type of conversion. I like steam heat- can you tell? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

If the return valve leaks

@ January 18, 2003 10:55 PM in steam in the return

cap off the pipe. With the radiator out it is probably acting like an air vent. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Get some adjustable vents

@ January 18, 2003 10:52 PM in One pipe system in house under construction

Dole or Hoffman #1A or Vent-Rite #1. These can be varied to suit whatever stage the project is in. If the first floor is still cold get some Gorton #D vents for those radiators. I'm not a big fan of changing steam to hot water. I find that, assuming the boilers are of similar efficiency, a well-operating steam system is just as good as hot-water. It costs less to fix a steam system than to convert it. And a steam system won't freeze like hot water will- especially important since the house being remodeled is not as tight as usual. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

\"Direct Return Trap\"-

@ January 18, 2003 10:45 PM in Old two-pipe steam with new boiler

is that an old Trane unit? This unit is covered in "The Lost Art of Steam Heating Companion" and a similar (Dunham) system appears in chapter 15 of the original "Lost Art of Steam Heating". Study the piping diagrams of this type of Vapor system, and check to be sure the returns are still piped correctly. Also check the air vents to see if they're leaking, and if any return lines are buried they're probably leaking too, so it's best to replace them. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Greg, try e-mailing Glenn Stanton

@ January 17, 2003 3:56 PM in Leaking section in Burnham '809'

at gstanton@burnham.com . Glenn is one of the best and should be able to help you. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Most of the dirt

@ January 17, 2003 3:53 PM in Flushing single pipe steam system

will be in the wet return lines. I like to remove the vents from the steam mains, hook up a hose to the vent connections, disconnect the wet return at the Hartford Loop if there isn't a drain there, and let her rip. Oh, be sure there's a place for the dirty water to go! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

First

@ January 17, 2003 3:50 PM in My Mom's hot water system

try to bleed them. If nothing comes out- no air, no water- and nothing is blocking the vent port (such as paint) there probably isn't enough water in the system. You may need to replace the water fill valve. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I don't have the catalog but

@ January 17, 2003 3:47 PM in Webster type R system equipment

the type "R" was Webster's Vapor system with radiator traps, a vent trap, and a return trap. Pretty standard stuff. You wouldn't, by any chance, be referring to the system in Bentley's antique shop would you? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Vapor Barrier?

@ January 17, 2003 3:31 PM in Steam heat and static electricity

If your home doesn't have one, it's possible to paint one on with oil-based paint on the inside walls. This isn't as good as a dedicated vapor barrier in the walls, but it helps keep moisture inside. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

It might

@ January 16, 2003 9:57 PM in steam question

but then again it might make things worse. In this situation we would have pressure coming from two directions- the steam main, and the return. This could drive steam up the return into the baseboard, where it would hammer the trap and vent into so much junk. At the very least, I'd look to see which trap is blowing steam. This way you know what you're dealing with. There may be only one or two bad ones, in which case you could fix them now and do the rest later. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I like to tie them in

@ January 16, 2003 8:23 PM in Water feed for 1 pipe steam

to the wet return prior to the Hartford Loop. This helps keep from shocking the boiler with cold water. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

There may be a bad trap

@ January 16, 2003 8:19 PM in steam question

elsewhere in the system that is pressurizing the dry return. Is the return steam-hot? It shouldn't be. Find the source of the steam in the return and fix it. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

But

@ January 16, 2003 8:03 PM in Steam boiler efficiency

in your large old factory, if you could get a similar energy-use reduction by fixing the steam system, the initial cost would be less so the payback would be faster. How many bad, missing or improperly sized vents, bad traps, uninsulated pipes etc. do we see when looking over steam systems? I see a lot of all of the above, and it doesn't cost that much to fix them. Once they're fixed, the fuel consumption drops right off. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

It could bang

@ January 16, 2003 7:43 PM in Near piping on steam boiler

since water may be carried up with the steam. But why not get the piping diagram for that model boiler to be sure? Glenn Stanton at Burnham can get it for you. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

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"