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Steam traps in series

Empire_2
Empire_2 Member Posts: 2,343
Is far as I can remember this is not the answer. Steamhead will chime in and I'm sure he can give you the proper answer. I am only trying to give you what I think..:-)

Mike T.

Comments

  • Craig_8
    Craig_8 Member Posts: 33
    steam traps in series

    I have a customer with a steam system that has 7 bad thermostatic traps. all 7 are stuck open. Two of the traps are not accessable, as a book case has been built around the radiators.

    can i put new traps in the basement and leave the old traps in place on these two radiators? I think this would work fine, but i've never seen it done before.

    On the other 5 traps i plan to rebuild them with Barnes and Jones cage units.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Mike's right

    double-trapping will only lead to trouble, even if the existing trap isn't working as it should. Maybe you could cut an access hole, and close it with a thin piece of plywood or a junction box cover when finished?

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  • Craig_8
    Craig_8 Member Posts: 33


    Thanks for the input. I think Im going to do it anyways and see what happens though.

    at this point there are 3 options
    leave it alone
    double trap
    cut the pipes to the radiator and cap them

    cutting any access holes is definitely out of the question. This is one of the most beautiful hardwood libraries I've ever seen in a home. also the radiator is set way back so the hole would have to be huge.

    What exactly is the drawback to a double trap? I understand the problems with a master trap, but not a double trap
  • Curious Frank,

    and I know double trapping is never the answer, but if the upstream ones have failed open and he can`t get-at them, what could happen adding another?, would serve as a great cooling leg.

    Dave
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Same problem

    not enough delta-P between the traps to make sure the water will flow thru them. This will of course lead to banging when the steam leaks past the original trap. The owners will be screaming at you and threatening to call the lawyers. The piping beyond the traps was not intended to carry steam.

    It might pay to have a carpenter take the bookcases apart enough so you can get at the traps, then move them to the basement and have him put the bookcases back together. Make sure when you do this that the return lines have as much fall as you can give them before they hit the traps. This will get rid of the condensate quickly enough that entering steam won't cause banging.

    Even if a trap element is not always closing tightly, there are times when it probably will. If you've added another trap downstream, when the original one closes tightly you'll have problems.

    I'm really surprised they didn't leave any access to the traps. If the bookcases are old, they might have but you just can't see it.

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  • Why Mike?

    Double trapping is dumb as no 2 are exactly the same(when operating), but if the main one has failed open, and not accessible , what`s the harm in adding one downstream?

    Dave
  • Craig_8
    Craig_8 Member Posts: 33


    I don't have to worry about lawyers or angry customers with these homeowners. Last november we replaced their leaking boiler and replaced the main vents and cut their gas bills in half. I just serviced all 5 of their a/c units and they signed a contract for 2 new furnaces and an air conditioner. basically they are the happiest people in the world.

    I told them about the problem with the access to the trap and they said Im welcome to try anything i want as long as it doesn't damage the carpentry.

    whoever did the carpentry many years ago had the right idea in mind but the wrong execution. they made a nice removable front cover to get to the radiator, but did not leave enough room to get to the trap or operate the valve.


    another possibility that i just thought of is disassembling the piping in the basement and then using an 18" bit to drill up into the trap and drill out the needle and seat. It seems like this could either work very well or turn into a disaster.
  • Craig_8
    Craig_8 Member Posts: 33
    nope

    good idea, but no, the radiator is 1 section wider on each end than the opening.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Well, then

    your idea of a long drill bit is the next best idea. The big problem I can see with this method is that if you go too far, and get into the actual trap element, you may create enough debris to block the opening. I'd use a 3/8" diameter bit to make the hole nice and big. Don't drill past the trap seat.

    Be very careful when taking apart the return runout below the trap. If you twist too hard you may break the trap's brass tailpiece that goes into the radiator. Then you'd have to have the bookcase taken apart to fix it.

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  • Empire_2
    Empire_2 Member Posts: 2,343
    ARe you sure it will alway's be non operative?

    Even though it's stuck and in not working at at all and just for Shi*'* and grins if frees itself due to chemicals which I am SURE will be introduced to the system,...Now what? The first trap per say will or could be activated again and now the double trap will negate the the thermal trap period. Are you sure you would take that chance? Since the old trap SOMEHOW...:-) came back on line, now you would have to remove the most recent trap to have it work properly.

    If you can guarantee that the existing trap will remain stuck,...Great!. But to prevent a call back, I cannot and would not double trap for "Murphy's Law" always comes into play just when you thought the stuck trap would NEVER come free.....:-)

    That's my position on the topic and although it can work, You better hope the stuck one don't come free...... Cause you will be back. To answer your Q: if you double trap, the 2 of them work against each other in the sense that if the non functioning one Somehow....:-) comes to life, you are back to getting rid of either the new one or the questionable one.


    Just my opinion, but I would not do it.

    Mike T.
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