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Newbie Steam ?

Luxfam
Luxfam Member Posts: 4
Our "new" 1927 house has a 2 pipe steam heating system. The boiler is 18 years old and seems to be working OK.



My question is: some of the radiators do not warm up, or take a long time for steam to reach them. Could this be air in the system or bad traps?



I attached a jpg of what I believe is a trap on one of the radiators return pipes.



Thanks,



Chris

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,637
    That trap is not original

    because even if you do have a Dunham Differential system, it wasn't called Vari-Vac in 1927. The name change came after World War 2.



    That said, bad traps or air venting can certainly cause the problems you're having.



    Where are you located? Have you tried the Find a Professional page of this site?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Luxfam
    Luxfam Member Posts: 4
    TRAPS

    Thanks.



    I'm in Shaker Heights, OH.



    I just looked @ find a professional.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,637
    edited October 2009
    You're in luck

    I believe Gerry Gill and Steve Pajek are in the Cleveland area.



    http://www.heatinghelp.com/professional/88/G-W-Gill-Plumbing-Heating
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 944
    Familiar characteristics

    Looking at the inimitable style of the radiator outlet bushing, the "low drip hub" and the fact that the house is 1927 and the fact that its in Shaker, you may be running a vapor system like a Mouat. You can tell if the original graduated inlet valves are there. Its likely that the boiler was replaced or modified after WWII, if originally coal fired, and the pressure was set too high. This ruins the fundamental operating points of the Mouat system which was to run at a max of 3 OZ steam pressure. Thats not a misprint. The original traps were probably the Mouat water seal orifice traps, which ironically never fail if the system is set up as it should be. [I'm looking for more of those traps for restoration purposes. Don't everybody come forward at once!]



    By '29 or so, vapor gave way to systems designed around gas boilers and utilized thermostatic traps. Gas boilers commonly used in Shaker were Bryant "NoToil" boilers and B-Line boilers (a division of Bryant) These were very efficient and the B-lines all had the Bryant "heat tender" system of full fire and air modulation (check out the Library). Once the Heat Tender required service, many technicians dismantled the arrangement leaving a new Pressuretrol in its place and on/off firing. The elegance of the system became compromised and all manner of vexing problems ensued.



    Gerry and Steve to the rescue!



    Terry
    terry
  • Luxfam
    Luxfam Member Posts: 4
    More research

    More info:



    The boiler is Weil-Mclain LGB-6 (which I'm beginning to think is oversized). It is running @ between 2-3 lbs. pressure.



    Most of the other traps are "Dunham 1E" on fin in the wall radiators.



    It seems there is side of the house which is not getting steam. The main steam pipe going to that side of the house is hot.



    There is only one air vent on the returns, and it is right near the boiler. Shouldn't there be more?



    Thanks,



    Chris
  • Pressure is way too high!

    Your pressure is way too high!  Have you contacted Gerry and Steve? They are some of the best steam heating experts in the business. I wish I was lucky enough to live in their service area. 
  • Luxfam
    Luxfam Member Posts: 4
    You were right.

    Gerry has my system humming.



    He installed new air vents (I had ONE which wasn't working properly) and new vaporstats.



    Because it's a commercial boiler, it has a low fire feature. It was never used! Gerry has it working great. Before, it was short cycling 1 min. on 1min. off @ 2lbs of pressure.



    Now, Gerry had it running for 30 min. cycling up and down between 4 and 2 ounces. The house warmed right up.



    I'm almost looking forward to winter.
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