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Help Me! Radiator vents not quiet

DK_5 Member Posts: 18
I have a one pipe steam system. Weil-McLean SGO-4 oil boiler installed last year. At this time total connected EDR is 343. Future additions will up the EDR to 400. When the heating cycle starts (particularly in the AM after system has been idle for a while) all of my upstairs and two on the first floor radiator vents make noise. Not a constant hissing more like intermitent puffing. All have Gorton #5 vents. Rads are all pitched toward supply valves and valves are fully opened. The mains are vented(short main-Gorton#2, long main-Gorton#2 & 1 #1) all are on 8" nipples at least 15" from last takeoff. Mains and takeoffs are all insulated. I have tried Gorton #4 vents and they do not make any noise at all but the radiators do not heat up to a comfortable level in the rooms.
Can anyone tell me what may be the problem? Is the boiler water too dirty? It has a rusty color to it.
Are there any staem heat people located on the South Shore of Boston? I would like to have a pro come in and evaluate my system. I live in Abington.
Also at the end of the heating cycle some of the radiators let out a long burst of air from the vents. What's up?


  • Brad White
    Brad White Member Posts: 2,398
    Main Vents

    Your main vents sound OK on paper but then your radiator vents are still working too hard, regardless. Are they venting well themselves?

    Puffing to me indicates a dip or pocket in the line somewhere- when steam hits that water, it collapses to a vacuum which again fills with steam, hence the "panting". Just a thought.

    What pressure are you running? Should be as low as possible. Too many things could be factors although your situation sounds like most have been eliminated.

    On the South Shore is Norm Harvey of Independent Oil, an excellent oil burner technician and steam practitioner. Norm is in Weymouth. Give Norm a shout. He can be found posting here too.
    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"

    -Ernie White, my Dad
  • DK_5
    DK_5 Member Posts: 18

    Cut in at .5 differential at 1. Thanks for the name of a local steam pro.
  • Matt_67
    Matt_67 Member Posts: 284
    Dirty water...

    After having a new boiler installed in my home, the dirty water caused all the same problems that you are talking about. After flushing and skimming (a few rounds now, but no chemicals have been used) the problems completely went away. I think if you have mains or runouts that are on the edge of what is called for (using Dan's info in TLOSH), then when the new boiler throws out lot's of wet steam you can see these things happen. Also having the boiler slightly oversized for your current load will contribute to this as well.

    Drain and flush out the boiler and return lines, get it skimmed, and see if the problems don't go away...
  • DK_5
    DK_5 Member Posts: 18
    Drain and flush

    Thanks for the info. Is this something I should hire a pro for? Might be tough to do this time of year especially with all the cold we have ben having.
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