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Radiator Thermostatic traps

Jamie Hall
Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,968
I got to thinking last night (bad habit; mustn't do that) and have a sort of general question for all and sundry.  The building which I supervise has a Hoffman vapour system which is running beautifully.  No complaints.  However, at risk of invoking demons, it occurs to me to be a bit puzzled.

I have been the super here for about 20 years.  I have yet to replace a thermostatic trap (and there are a lot of them -- not just radiators, but crossovers at the ends of the mains and so on) in that time, as, so far as I know, none of my predecessors did, either (and before you ask, I check them all, regularly, with a tempilstik, and they are all working as advertised).  Which makes these traps around 80 years old.  I have read a number of times that the expected life on these puppies is three to five years.

Am I missing something?  Or just darn lucky?  Or is there something about the Hoffman system which makes them last longer (such as all the radiator valves are nicely calibrated for the radiators, and have never been messed up)?

Thoughts, folks?
Br. Jamie, osb
Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England


  • They don't make 'em like they use to do.

    Hi Jamie- It would seem to me that the ultra low pressure of being a vapor system plus a lot of TLC would make a big difference in the longevity of the traps. Also i think they made things much better back then. The attitude now is everything is throw away / replacement so you don't have to build things as well. That attitude factored in with most things now manufactured overseas, doesn't  add up to long product life.   In the business I was in we had new machines and old ones and while the old ones didn't have all the fancy computer controls etc. they were "bullet proof" and like the Energizer Bunny,  they kept going and going. Many times we wished we had more of the old ones.

    - Rod
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,045
    yup, its amazing isn't it.

    I just replaced a boiler on a Dunham system and did a steam trap survey with a thermal camera and found 1 bad trap out of a mansion size house. 1 lousy trap failure..all original traps..like Rod says, they don't make em like they used to..
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

This discussion has been closed.