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two pipe steam systems

mel_5
mel_5 Member Posts: 8
Yes. Insulation is on my list of things to do. The whole system is not insulated, even the piping that runs through the garage. I figured I'd get to that first as that indeed might be the cause of the condensation and hammering(as you suggest). So while I wait for Dan's book to arrive, could someone please give me a brief rundown of what is wrong with the way this thing is piped?

Thanks,

-mel

Comments

  • mel_5
    mel_5 Member Posts: 8
    two pipe steam

    Hi folks,
    I'm looking to gain a little knowledge. I just moved into a new house and have been trying to acquaint myself with its two-pipe steam heating system. In doing so I’ve noticed a couple of things that don’t conform to what I’ve been reading online about these systems. 1) None of the radiators seem to have steam traps on them. 2) Two of the radiators (both in upstairs bedrooms) seem to have steam valves on them. These hiss when the system is firing up as would be expected in a one pipe system .

    Anyway, I’m just curious if this is a common setup and/or if there is anything I should be wary about into the future. I'm trying to pin down a water hammer problem I’m hearing in one of the bedrooms but don't want to do anything until I understand the system.

    Any and all advice is much appreciated.
    Many thanks,

    -mel
  • time to get

    Its time to get Dan's books on steam heating as well post some boiler pictures.
  • mel_5
    mel_5 Member Posts: 8


    Yes, will get Dan's book.

    Here are some boiler picts. I suspect that this was put in about the same time as the water heater which is dated 1985. And, yes we are about the replace the water heater as I'm afraid it could go any day.

    Thanks!

    -mel
  • oh man...

    Another good boiler been piped wrong since day one.. Dan's books will explain why
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,092
    #1 thing piping aside

    aside from not being piped correctly ,how about some pipe insulation some nice high densenty 1 inch wall fiberglass pipe insulation you will not find the right stuff at a home center just garbage not only on your near boiler piping but also the rest of your piping if it is not insulated your putting heat where it ain't meant to be some place besides your rads also the small amount of water hammer your hearing may be caused from there being no insulation.The other moot points of no insulation is higher fuel usage and more condensate formation in your steam mains which can cause premature pipe leaks at joints where the pipe thickness is thinner due to the threades not to mention condensate groving due to more condensate flowing down the main then is usually expected.even though it's not piped as it should be the saving grace may be the height of the risers would require some leap of faith for carry over water to make it so far .Defently look into get it all insulated with good fiberglass insulation with a mimiun wall thickness of 1 inch peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Fred Harwood_2
    Fred Harwood_2 Member Posts: 195
    Header wrong

    Two steam risers connected in counterflow to the steam mains means that the steam flow from the risers butts heads and traps condensate at that point, rather than sliding down the drip at the end of the header. It should be redone.

    Also, didn't see any Hartford loop on the return.
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,092
    pipe supports

    If all the original insulation was abated then i would also take a look at the pitch of your mains and probably check to make sure that all your pipes are properly supported and not sagging or putting to much stress on fittings and take offs .Being all the insulation is gone don't cheap out when re insulating you will get a big return not only in comfort but also in fuel usuage if properly done i have seen the differences and smiles on HO's faces afterwards makes a big difference peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • mel_5
    mel_5 Member Posts: 8


    Clammy, Got any recommendations on good insulation to use? Also, in addition to the mains you mentioned insulating the near boiler piping. Got any images of what well insulated near boiler piping looks like?
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,738
    Here is a link for insulation supply and product type

    http://www.statesupply.com/new/content/category/pdfs/BR-FibgpipeInsul.pdf
  • mel_5
    mel_5 Member Posts: 8
    Header wrong

    Fred, The center pipe runs to a single radiator which is in the room directly above the boiler room. Not sure if this make a difference (likely not). Perhaps the was the best (easiest) way to get steam there.

    The Hartford loop is there. It's just on the backside of the boiler. You can see the T-joint (close nipple?) just left of the top of the water level controller (green box?) (see boiler_lft.JPG).

    Thanks for the advice and help.

    -mel
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Radiators without traps

    could be one of several designs.

    It's possible there might be little check valves (Kriebel system) or dip tubes and ball checks (Richardson system) inside those return elbows.

    Or they might be just plain elbows paired with orificing shutoff valves (Tudor or Orifice system).

    But whichever system you have, the radiator vents don't belong there. The overhead ("dry") return lines are supposed to carry the air from the radiators back to a central vent, usually located near the boiler. Can you post some pics of some radiators and the return piping, as well as give us any manufacturers' names you find on valves or other hardware?

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  • mel_5
    mel_5 Member Posts: 8
    radiators without traps

    Steamhead,
    Here are some pictures for you. They are:

    1) shutoff.jpg This is the shutoff found on all the radiators I've looked at. I can't find a manufacturers name, but perhaps you recognize the logo.
    2) return.jpg This is the return that is on all the radiators, including the two suspicious radiators with the equalizing valves. The returns bear the same logo as the shutoffs.
    3) valve_return.jpg This is one of the upstairs radiators with the added equalizing valve.
    4) valve.jpg This is a closeup of the valve, which is manufactured by Gorton.

    The system definitely has a central vent attached to the boiler, at least I'm assuming that's what this is (see mainvent.jpg).

    Let me know what you think.

    In the meantime, I'll see if I can figure out who this manufacturer by looking at some of the other radiators.

    Thanks!

    -mel
  • is the house built

    Is the house built in late 40's or early 50's ? Where are you located?
    Seem that your system can be correctly repaired and cab be enjoyed the full benefits of quiet steam system.
  • mel_5
    mel_5 Member Posts: 8
    1939

    Deed says 1939.
    New Rochelle, New York.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    You have an Arco \"Model K\" Orifice Vapor System

    which is covered in chapter 15 of Lost Art. The two vents on the dry return are probably vacuum vents. Are there any vents on the steam main itself?

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  • rogGoarfsoony
    rogGoarfsoony Member Posts: 8
    looks like i'll have to get another book!

    Any clue where on the main I might find the vents? I take it they will not be near the boiler?
    -mel
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Main vents

    would be at or near the ends of the steam mains. If there are none, they're usually easy to add.

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  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,092
    insulation pics

    here we are Mel ,there's a couple of photos of a 3 inch drop header with and with out insulation and there's a shot of the return piping with access to the return side with a tee and reducer and ball valve on ther boiler side and wet return side .On the drop header insulation i used st ell but i should have used a longer nipple and ell would have been a bit easier to insulate .All the insulation is 1 inch wall thickness and it's knauf if that helps .Good luck with your project and insulation makes big differencxe espically on steam can't say that enough peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • mel_5
    mel_5 Member Posts: 8
    Awesome. Thanks!

  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,702
    Those fittings should come off easily enough with all

    the Teflon tape on the joints...that will help WHEN YOU REPIPE IT...1985??? I would consider a new Burnham Independence steamer while you are at it. Mad Dog
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,702
    Those fittings should come off easily enough with all

    sorry for the double post. MD
  • That's the standard piping arrangement for Weil EG/EGH

    that I see in the field throughout Northern Illinois. I was told by an old time Weil installer that's been putting in steamers for about 50 years that there is nothing wrong with that piping. Thank goodness that the big 3 inch risers can slow down the velocity enough that most of the water stays in the boiler anyway on the smaller sizes.

    If you're going to replace, go high efficiency and put in a Slantfin Intrepid with a gas burner. They are really not much more money than a typical atmospheric. They just require an installer with a little more knowledge.

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    Boilerpro

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    Noisy Radiators are a Cry for Help
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