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2nd floor cold, is it the pipe sizes?

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I've been trying to balance the steam heat in my new house for a while now, and i've replaced almost all of the first floor radiator vent's with gorton #4's and the second floor with gorton D's, but the second floor is still about 10 degrees colder than the first. I've read the "We Got Steam Heat" book, but i didn't find anything more that i could try. So my questions is, do you think it's the size of the pipes? I have a 2.5 in pipe main feeding 3 branches to the first floor, plus a 1.5in pipe 8 ft horizontal run that feeds the riser to the second floor. I don't have a wet return, so i assume the horizontal is all counter flow and not dripped. I can't see the connection in the basement, but on the second floor the riser is 1in pipe. It's tapped off into a 1 in pipe branch to a large radiator (i estimate 42EDR) as well as a another 1in pipe branch that feeds two more radiators. The pipes going into the two other radiators are 3/4in pipe and it's in the floor so i can't see much of it. I estimate the bathroom radiator to be about 17.5 EDR and i didn't know how to measure the recessed hybrid convector kind in the other bedroom. I'll attach pictures. What do you think would help?

Comments

  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
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    measureing recessed units

    as per the doc: http://www.burnham.com/pdf/radiant_lit.pdf

    the measuring EDR of the recessed units is super simple .. 1ft EDR for each inch of length.



    are your 2nd flr rads heating at all?



    perhaps you want to have a look at my venting recommendation worksheet (link in my sig, need Excel or OpenOffice)
    1-pipe Homeowner - Queens, NYC

    NEW: SlantFin Intrepid TR-30 + Tankless + Riello 40-F5 @ 0.85gph | OLD: Fitzgibbons 402 boiler + Beckett "SR" Oil Gun @ 1.75gph

    installed: 0-20oz/si gauge | vaporstat | hour-meter | gortons on all rads | 1pc G#2 + 1pc G#1 on each of 2 mains

    Connected EDR load: 371 sf venting load: 2.95cfm vent capacity: 4.62cfm
    my NEW system pics | my OLD system pics
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,433
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    I would have expected

    some water hammer in your situation upstairs; be happy it's not there.  It does appear that the pipe sizes may be too small.  I have to admit that I've not seen a situation with the pipe sizes small like that with counterflow which didn't hammer (!), so it may be somethng else...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,433
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    And another thought

    have you compared ratio of the EDR of the radiators in the upstairs to the heat loss up there, as compared to the ratio of the EDR of the radiators downstairs to the heat loss downstairs?  While not all that common, it could simply be that there is significantly less available raidation upstairs as compared to downstairs -- and I'm sorry to say that if the imbalance in the built in radiation is big enough, there isn't all that much you can do about it except add some more radiation.  Venting can do a lot, but it can't solve a real built in imbalance.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Mark N
    Mark N Member Posts: 1,115
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    Recessed Sunrad

    That recessed rad you have is the same one I have in my bathroom.  It is an ARCO Sunrad 2sqft EDR per section looks to be 8 section for a total of 16sqft EDR.  Each of the rads on the 2nd floor should have their own riser.  3 rads on 1 1in riser won't work.  Good luck

    Mark
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    pipe sizes too small?

    i think the 3/4 in pipe should be able to do 1 radiator at a time but not feed a pair of them. unless it has been changed recently, this piping must have worked in the beginning, so the goal is to get back to that original state of repair.

     have you checked your main vents? is there any noise from the upstairs vents as steam is starting to rise? you may have to set your t-stat way up to make the boiler run long enough for this test. the object is to see if any steam will eventually get to the top. try the open vent test to see if you can hear huffing and puffing sounds, as the steam is trying to get through a water-bound  low spot. be sure you have an assistant by the boiler, to shut it off before the steam comes out full force, and burns you! sometimes, if the pressure is too high, the rad vents will just not work to let the air out.--nbc
  • anthonyd
    anthonyd Member Posts: 2
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    Possible Addition to the house

    I personally can't tell from the piping, but i believe the master bedroom with the largest radiator was probably an addition to the house and original system. I suspect that the shutoff valve was patched in later to provide a tap for the new radiator. It also happens to be the only radiator in the house on an inside wall. All of the radiators shown heat up, eventually, just very slowly. I have one additional of the radiator (same as identified as the ARCO Sunrad) in another bedroom on the second floor that heats up just as quick, if not quicker than the radiators on the first floor. It is on its own riser though. The Gorton D vent shown on the piping heats up and closes pretty quickly, but problem is just that the radiators are slow after that point. The ARCO Sunrad in the pictures has a serious gurgling issue that was made worse when i tried to pitch it better. It also heats the first two sections , and is very slow to heat the rest. I had some hammering on the largest radiator, and also gurgling, but it subsided when i was able to pitch/lift it a few more inches. You can hear the Sunrad and the largest radiator puffing a lot when the heat's on, but still very slow to heat up. If the heat is on long enough they heat up all the way. when it was in the 20's the other day, i turned off a big radiator on the first floor, and the second floor was able to get to a few degrees below the thermostat, but when it was warmer out, it didn't seem to have the same effect...
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
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    2nd flr branch main geography?

    where along your main is the branch for the 2nd flr? towards the end?

    how long does it take for the steam to get to the 2nd flr main branch compared to the 1st flr main branches?



    do have have your main properly vented?



    if you turn off ALL 1st flr rads, do the 2nd flr rads heat within roughly the same timing?



    what pressure does your boiler acheive under normal circumstances? and in what time?



    if you turn off all 1st flr rads what pressure do you achieve? and in what time?

    i'm assuming that all rad inlet valves are fully opened.
    1-pipe Homeowner - Queens, NYC

    NEW: SlantFin Intrepid TR-30 + Tankless + Riello 40-F5 @ 0.85gph | OLD: Fitzgibbons 402 boiler + Beckett "SR" Oil Gun @ 1.75gph

    installed: 0-20oz/si gauge | vaporstat | hour-meter | gortons on all rads | 1pc G#2 + 1pc G#1 on each of 2 mains

    Connected EDR load: 371 sf venting load: 2.95cfm vent capacity: 4.62cfm
    my NEW system pics | my OLD system pics
  • gcmx
    gcmx Member Posts: 3
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    Arco Sunrad Recessed Radiator

    Hello,



    I'm looking for an Arco Sunrad Recessed Radiator...20" x 20" x 5.5".



    Would anyone know where I can find one?



    Thanks,



    Gary
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    2nd floor

    Was that second floor added at some point in time? None of those pipe sizes seem right for a single pipe system. What is the vintage of the house?  Older houses typically had individual risers to each radiator and they were over sized in most cases. Typically a minimum of inch and a quarter to inch and a half. How long have you been in this house? Has the second floor ever heat properly since you have been there? 
  • gcmx
    gcmx Member Posts: 3
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    Arco Sunrad Hot Water Radiator

    I'm not the original person you were chatting with.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    The need for a new post

    That's one of the problems with posting on an old thread.

    There is a buy-sell section here, and maybe a post there will find what you need.--NBC
  • gcmx
    gcmx Member Posts: 3
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    Thanks

    Sorry about that, and thanks for the input. I need to find a hot water radiator. The one I have cracked.