Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Vapor System question

Dbart Member Posts: 2
I came across an old vapor system in a home the client is trying to sell.  The buyer hired a scorched-air company to do a heating inspection so some of their comments didn't make much sense.  They did however mention that this system did not have a Hartford Loop.  There is no equalizer on this system, but I've noticed in "Lost Art" that those old vapor system diagrams didn't show equalizers.  Didn't know if it just wasn't necessary due to the very low pressure.  <strong>Is there a reason we should not add an equalizer line and a Hartford Loop? </strong> There is no wet return, it's at the ceiling.  Somebody replaced the original boiler and put in a standard pressuretrol, so I'm recommending a vaporstat.  Haven't had a chance yet to open up any radiator union elbows to see what's inside, but most radiators have the old lever-style hand valves.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,966
    A scorched air man

    commenting on a steam system?  That's funny...

    I can't think of a good reason not to put an equalizer and Hartford Loop in -- although maybe Steamhead can; he's corrected me before and I always learn from him and am grateful!  Keep in mind that the Hartford Loop arrangement didn't come in until about 1919 -- so systems before that might not have had it because they didn't know about it.

    Do let us know what you find about what flavour vapour system it was!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Dbart
    Dbart Member Posts: 2
    Looking forward to

    digging into this system some more.  95% of the home steam systems I've seen here in the midwest are two-pipe gravity return systems with traps at radiators.  This is 1 of 2 (two-pipe systems) I've seen with no traps.  I got to spend about a half hour at this house and the owner wants a price for any recommended fixes before he sells the house.  I did notice a few things in my short visit.  Somebody has replaced a few of the old graduated hand valves with newer style hand valves.  I even saw the famous one-pipe air vent on one of the radiators.  Really curious to see if those union elbows are hiding any goodies inside.  I am hoping to hear from Steamhead.  I got to meet him here in KC a few months back.  Yes, he came all the way to Missouri to meet with a common client of ours to discuss several buildings systems with us.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,657
    edited November 2009
    Here I am

    and I remember you- Dave, is it? I'm terrible with names but I remember meeting you. That was part of a great steam consulting trip. It's good to see you here on the Wall.

    First, the Hartford Loop: The old diagrams didn't always have them, that's because they were drawn before the Loop became standardized. Nowadays one should always use a proper header, equalizer and Hartford Loop on any steam boiler- if for no other reason than the manufacturer specs them and would probably deny warranty if something went wrong and it wasn't piped to their minimum specs.

    A no-trap Vapor system can have several different devices on the rad returns that might not be obvious: water seals (Broomell, VECO, Mouat, Richardson, O-E and others) check valves (Kriebel, Donnelly and others) orifices (early Trane, etc), or it might be simply an Orifice system where orifices in the supply valve keep the steam from reaching the return connection. All should have Vaporstats. I've posted a pic of a radiator on a Kriebel system, note the unique return ell that has a "baffler" (check valve) inside.

    Look for names or trademarks on the original radiator valves and any old Vapor hardware in the basement- this will help us ID the system. And post some pics if you can get them.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
This discussion has been closed.