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Orifice Plates vs. Radiator Traps

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I've been researching & asking questions to prepare for replacement of all Radiator Steam Traps throughout a 16 story office building in NYC. I got very helpful responses here and bought a book on this website "The Lost Art of Steam Heating" which should give me a better system understanding. Just when I thought I had a clear idea of how to proceed, someone suggested to me that it might be much easier and require less maintenance (going forward) to install Inlet Orifice Plates. I read a short article on the topic (Henry Gifford - Author)and have to say, installation sure seems darn simple! But, sometimes when something looks too good to be true, it just could be... I'de appreciating hearing from those with experience if I might be headed for trouble by taking this route. Could there be any serious pitfalls that I should be aware of? Thanks (again) for insight, responses, etc. Here's some data about my building's (I'm Supt.) system:
Con Ed Steam - 2 pipe system which has a primary and secondary pressure reducing valve - failed radiator traps throughout - operates (cycles) by return line sensor with readings above 180 degrees F. and gauge readings above 4lbs. psi.

Comments

  • Boilerpro_5
    Boilerpro_5 Member Posts: 407
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    The old is new again

    If you take a look in Dan's Books you'll find the Moline Vapor/ Vacumn System. This system was based on orifice plates with no traps and they work very, very well. I have one building owner that installed orifices , but haven't gotten any recent feedback. The principals are all unchanged, you just have to do quite a bit of homework before installing the plates...room by room heat loss and measuring all radiators and noting all enclosures. I'd give Henry Gifford a call. In the article he says he has hundreds of buildings with the change. Get some references and give them a call.

    This stuff is not bleeding edge. Its only old principals and practices being rediscovered.

    Boilerpro

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  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
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    Hummm....16 storys of driving yourself nuts..

    i use orifices often..in big houses..but they are vapor systems..and i don't use them to escape fixing bad traps..i use them for balance..its trial and error for the most part on sizing the orifice also..steamhead has a chart but its in inches of mercury differential..i'm usually dealing with one or two ounces..Boilerpro is correct in that it can be made to work..but just in a mansion size house i've driven myself nuts achieving balance using orifices..16 storys of radiators..they'd be putting me in a padded cell..i would fix the traps..

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  • David L. Taylor
    David L. Taylor Member Posts: 20
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    FeedBack on Orifice Plates

    Thanks guys. I did recently buy The Lost Art of Steam Heating by DH and found the reference to Orifice Traps at pages 125-126. As previously posted, the context of the discussion concerns installation in a Vapor System.
    If an experienced professional had difficulty with a mansion installation and another advises that much preperation work is required, I (a Building Supt. with limited steam experience working on 16 floors of radiators) must give this serious consideration. Thanks for your insights. Having a decision to make, I welcome gratefully anyone to share their experience/insight/opinion, etc.
  • David L. Taylor
    David L. Taylor Member Posts: 20
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    Choices

    > Thanks guys. I did recently buy The Lost Art of

    > Steam Heating by DH and found the reference to

    > Orifice Traps at pages 125-126. As previously

    > posted, the context of the discussion concerns

    > installation in a Vapor System. If an

    > experienced professional had difficulty with a

    > mansion installation and another advises that

    > much preperation work is required, I (a Building

    > Supt. with limited steam experience working on 16

    > floors of radiators) must give this serious

    > consideration. Thanks for your insights. Having

    > a decision to make, I welcome gratefully anyone

    > to share their experience/insight/opinion, etc.



    I have until the beginning of the heating season to finish this job and will update on this forum for those who are interested. Choices are Replace Whole Trap, Replace Innards, Orifice Plates.
    Thanks again!
  • David L. Taylor
    David L. Taylor Member Posts: 20
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    Choices

    I have until the beginning of the heating season to finish this job and will update on this forum for those who are interested. Choices are Replace whole trap, replace innards, orifice plates.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,526
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    David,

    please use Search on the Wall (on the orange bar) and look for Orifice Traps. Some input from previous threads there.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Boilerpro_5
    Boilerpro_5 Member Posts: 407
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    Some possible confusion.....

    As I understand it, Orifice plates (which install in the inlet valves) and orifice traps (which replace conventional traps, I believe) are two different things. Orifice plates have been proven in older vapor sytems, however, orifice traps, I don't know.....

    Boilerpro

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This discussion has been closed.