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Venting the risers in the front of my building?
I live (for a long time) in a 5-story brownstone in Manhattan with a one pipe steam system, boiler in the back in the cellar. This year for some reason the radiators in the front, especially on the top floor, are not getting hot though put a new Gorton # 1 at the end of the main to the front in the cellar (about a 50 foot run); I've also changed all the air vents (varivalves). It seems to make a difference but not enough.
I brought in a plumber to look at putting air vents on the top floor front radiator feed before the radiator valves, and though it's a bit tight he says he can do it. He discourages me from trying to put them high up on the risers on the floor below (which are more accessible), says I'll get water from the return condensate and it will mark up my walls and ceiling. But he also says the air vents won't make any difference, I should just turn up the pressure a bit. It's currently set at 1 (I think, maybe a bit lower) with a differential of 1.5 (I think). He says he's happy to run a test for me by disconnecting a radiator on the top floor and firing the boiler on manual to see if the steam gets to the top floor any faster.
He's a new plumber to me though recommended highly by my neighbors. I'm looking for any comments/suggestions?