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The Wall
Steamhead

Steamhead

Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on April 15, 2014

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No traps on the rads?

@ November 26, 2002 12:35 PM in Hoffman #75

Joe, I think you have an old Vapor system with either water seals on the rad return bushings, check balls or flappers in the return ells (you may have to take one apart to verify these) or orifices on the rad inlet valves. There HAS to be some way of keeping steam out of the dry return. If the system uses orifices, you MUST keep the pressure low. Otherwise steam will enter the dry return, which could pressurize it enough to stop steam flow to the top floor. A Vaporstat is essential on this type of system. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

That's right, they work by gravity

@ November 26, 2002 12:18 PM in Hoffman #30 Boiler return trap and # 30 reciever vent

The steam main vents should not need to open to let the water return. I think you have a very slow wet return there. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Yes, that's normal

@ November 26, 2002 12:16 PM in One-Pipe Steam Pressure

if you build pressure in a steam system, you're just storing the steam instead of moving it out to the radiators. That Pressuretrol should be set as low as it will go. 0.5 cut-in, differential 1, which will make it cut out at 1-1/2 PSI and back in at 1/2 PSI. Try to isolate the source of the banging, then look for places where water could collect and steam could come in contact with it. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Now all we need

@ November 25, 2002 9:38 PM in Here's proof that our voices are heard..........Casmo

is for W-M's people to work the Wall like Burnham's and Slant/Fin's people do (and Smith and Dunkirk, to a lesser extent). Or is it that I haven't seen when they do work the Wall? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Depends on the system

@ November 25, 2002 9:16 PM in Day 1 Single pipe steam system in 6 family house

I have found on some systems that chronically overheat, a Vaporstat works well because it eliminates compressing so much steam in the radiators. I put one on a 1-pipe system in a 7-unit apartment building and it worked well. I also put Vent-Rite #1 vents on most of the radiators- they have dials on them you can adjust by hand. This gave the tenants some control over their heat without opening windows. The downside to the Vaporstat is its cost. But under the right circumstances it can pay for itself. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Bucket traps don't handle air well

@ November 25, 2002 9:03 PM in Hoffman #75

so you want to vent before them if you can. Whether or not the #75 is correct depends on how much air you want to vent. If that's a Vapor system, 2 PSI is a bit high. Most Vapor systems were designed to run at around 8 ounces. I would try to find out why the steam won't reach the third floor with less than 2 PSI. Are the bucket traps placed on the dry returns before the feed tank? If so, that's wrong. The traps on the radiators are there to keep steam out of the return. In this case, the feed tank will serve as the dry return vent. The exception is when the return line dips down and then back up to enter the feed tank. In that case you need to vent the dry returns since air won't vent thru that dip. I have found the Gorton #2 vent is great for Vapor systems. It has 4 times the capacity of a Hoffman #75, and costs about the same. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Is that a Vaporstat

@ November 25, 2002 8:55 PM in Day 1 Single pipe steam system in 6 family house

on the old Pacific? If so, might be a good idea to put one on the Peerless- they work well with those hand-adjustable Vent-Rite vents, or with TRVs. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Thanks!

@ November 25, 2002 8:49 PM in Hoffman #30 Boiler return trap and # 30 reciever vent

I'll keep that in mind. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

One Problem Solved

@ November 25, 2002 6:23 PM in Hoffman #30 Boiler return trap and # 30 reciever vent

Eddie asked me to post these, they are views of a severely gunked-up Hoffman Return Trap. The float was anchored in a pile of gunk on the bottom and the rising water couldn't budge it. He cleaned it out and reassembled it, and it works perfectly now. Eddie, you sound like the kind of guy I'd love to work with! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Honeywell T87 anticipators

@ November 25, 2002 6:12 PM in Anticipator - REALLY dumb question

slide to right (lower numbers) to shorten the cycle. Now that your steam distribution problem is solved, try setting the anticipator to match the thermostat current of the oil primary control, relay or gas valve (whatever the thermostat actually controls). If it then short-cycles, kick the anticipator up a notch. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I'd stick with 2-pipe

@ November 25, 2002 6:08 PM in Question about adding a steam radiator

since the steam main in the basement might not be big enough to handle the additional condensate from a 1-pipe rad. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Gerry's right- Are there vents at the ends of the steam mains?

@ November 24, 2002 5:26 PM in Need Help with-Problems after replacing boiler..

These are crucial to proper steam distribution- and they allow the use of smaller vents on the radiators (or convectors, in your case) since if the mains are properly vented, the radiator vents don't have to handle air from the mains. This seems to be a more urgent issue with newer boilers since they produce steam faster, but older units will benefit from proper venting too. Measure the length and diameter of your mains. With that info we can determine how much air must be vented from them. Also, those Heat-Timer vents don't have floats in them, so they will not close against water like most other vents will. Once the proper main vents are in, you can probably use Hoffman #41 convector vents on your units. There isn't much air in those convectors so the slower rate of the #41s won't be a problem- and they close against water too! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Did it lose water

@ November 24, 2002 4:56 PM in Steam water loss problem

before the boiler was replaced? If so, the problem is in the system rather than the boiler. Maybe a pipe has rusted thru somewhere? I wouldn't worry about water getting into the pigtail below the Pressuretrol- it already contains a bit of water to keep steam from reaching the control. You might want to check the packing nuts at the radiator shutoff valves- if these are loose or need new packing, you will lose steam there. Burnham makes a real good boiler, and I know they'll stand behind it if it turns out the boiler is at fault. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Just the B&J Condensator return trap

@ November 24, 2002 4:53 PM in Hoffman #30 Boiler return trap and # 30 reciever vent

or any make? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I've seen some McKeesport radiators

@ November 24, 2002 10:31 AM in Radiators

the ones I'm familiar with are "large-tube" units similar to the American "Corto", National "Aero", U.S. "Capitol" or Weil-McLain "Cameo". If they look similar to your radiators, one of these charts should work. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Easton's not that far from Baltimore

@ November 23, 2002 4:42 PM in Hoffman #30 Boiler return trap and # 30 reciever vent

why don't we set something up? E-mail me with some idea of when would be a good time. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Steam? Inefficient?

@ November 22, 2002 7:54 PM in Guage glass Level not working as I read on this site

Not when it's running as it should! Dot, please do yourself a favor and go to the Find a Contractor page of this site. Follow the instructions thereon to find someone who can make your steam system run properly. You'll be glad you did. 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"

You definitely need to vent those mains

@ November 22, 2002 7:13 PM in Main Vents with a Condensate Pump

but the condensate not returning is another problem. In order to ascertain which vents to use, we need to know how much air is in each main. Then we can size the main vents so they will release air at a rate that will get the steam to the ends of the mains in about a minute (measured from the time the boiler starts producing steam). It's not uncommon to have to build a "tree" of piping to install the number of vents needed on each main. Dan has included sizing charts in the workbook that comes with his "Dead Men's Steam School" video. It's well worth the price of admission- Dan does an excellent job presenting the material. Order yours on the Books and More page of this site. The condensate problem may be caused by a vacuum building up when the F&T traps close, keeping the condensate from draining. If there's a union on the trap outlet, loosen it. If air rushes in and water drains out, you've found the problem. The solution is to install one of the main vents for that main AFTER the F&T trap. An F&T trap will pass air which will go out the vent, but if the vent is closed for some reason, it will open if a vacuum forms. I wonder if that boiler-feed pump is really necessary. If, after properly venting the system, it will heat completely without the boiler shutting down on low water, the pump probably isn't needed. Let us know how you do! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

That main

@ November 22, 2002 6:11 PM in Old house, steam heat, big problems!

is probably 2-inch.... but even if it's 1-1/2-inch, I'd use two Gorton #1 or Hoffman #75 vents on it. The added resistance of the smaller main warrants two vents. Mount them near the end of the main. If there is no tee to pipe them into, you can drill and tap a 3/8" pipe thread hole in the side of the pipe (or the top if you can get to it) increase to 1/2" with a reducer coupling or elbow, and pipe the two vents on a 1/2" tee. The drilling and tapping isn't a textbook move, but I do it often and have never had a problem. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Where are you located, Eddie?

@ November 22, 2002 12:25 PM in Hoffman #30 Boiler return trap and # 30 reciever vent

maybe one of us is close to your area......... To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Is that the \"safety valve\"?

@ November 22, 2002 9:18 AM in Steam Problem

If so, have it replaced NOW- it is there to relieve excess pressure. If it's been leaking, it is likely corroded and may not work if you need it to. Use the Find a Contractor page of this site to locate a good steam man near you. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Those aluminum discs

@ November 21, 2002 6:23 PM in Vapor System Componets and Operation

are only part of the vacuum-holding mechanism. There's a diaphragm in the bottom of the vent that holds the float up during vacuum- this is undoubtedly what's causing the system to hold vacuum. If the mains are heating quickly, try the Gorton #2 vents on the returns. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"