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This is my first post to this site, and the first time I've owned a house with a steam system. I spent a fair amount of time over the summer cleaning, disassembling, and reassembling various parts of the system and I'm learning more and more everyday. I can't stress enough how great this site has been for me. Just simply browsing and reading articles has expanded my understanding greatly.So first things first, a little background, then my problem.The house is 110 year old 3 story brick home. The steam heat is original to the house, originally being coal, then oil, now natural gas. I currently have a large American Standard system. I'm not sure of the age though I can probably find it on a label, or the owners manual (yes the previous owner kept it). Before we bought the house it sat empty for five years. Very little was done to the system over that time. Someone stopped by once a month to check on the house and would fill if needed, but that's about it. Before that, the lady that owned it set the thermostat to 85, and left it there year round. The house was never cooler than 85 degrees for 22 years. However, the system seems to still run great.I am having a problem with the condensate though. The problem has been happening since the start of heating season here, so I am assuming it has been like this for awhile. Problem is this. Radiators only get half hot. Attach a vent tot he 1/8" return, air rushes out, valve shuts off, radiator gets fully hot as expected. So, this tells me the lack of heat is a condensate problem.Down to the basement we go. All the condensate lines eventually terminate at the same point, a cast iron T (B). Condensate line comes in from the left, air vent on top (A) pipe back to wet return on the bottom. I have labeled each item on the attached picture. On the way down to the return, there is a tank with a concave shaped bottom (C). This tank has a single line in the top and a single line out the bottom, then heads to some other contraption (D). I am guessing that thing is to separate sediment from the return water. It looks like the inlet and outlet are in different orientations top to bottom so only water passes between and solids fall to the bottom where that capped pipe sticks out the bottom. Finally, we head down to a valve (E) which I assume is there because we are now below the water line and to service the stuff above you might need to close it? The water then flows back to the boiler via the wet return (F) which is pitched properly now.So the problem is that condensate water is collecting at the top of all this mess. The water is either clogged somewhere between F and B, or the condensate is rushing back to the system faster than the system can recover and accept it. either way, the vent fills up, and the last few radiators spew water out the temporary air vents because the condensate lines are full.What I really want to know is, do I really need the tank and other gadget, or can I just rip is all out and pipe directly from the vent to the wet return? If the tank has a problem, or that other gadget has a problem, fixing them is going to be almost impossible. They used thread compound on everything, and replacing or getting parts is going to be tricky at best. What I'd like to do is take it all out and plumb straight down to the return. Does anyone see a problem doing this? Will there we enough pressure balance for the condensate to drain into the return properly, or will the water pressure from the return shoot up and out the air vent?
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