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one pipe steam heat problems

i have 4 family house , the first floor rear apartment got no heat on two bedroom , but 2nd floor bedroom  have heat , both apartment use same  main pipe from boiler. it can get  heat if i turn off  2nd floor supply valve . the boiler pressure control set to 1PSI ..please help!!!, thank you .


  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
    please run down the checklist ..

    Please run down the checklist and tell us how far you get.

    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
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    1-pipe problems

    those pipes need insulation, even batts of insulation, as a temporary  fix. the stean can be interupted by sudden condensation, while pasing through an uninsulated section.

    you need an accurate gauge to show you what your pressure is [gaugestore.com 0-3 psi] if the pressure is too high, the main vents will not work properly, trapping air in the system, and preventing steam from rising. your pressuretrol is mounted in such a way ,that the pigtail may flex with heat, tipping the mercury switch, throwing off the pressure regulation.

    more about this can be found in "the lost art of steam heat", available from the shop here--nbc.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    more thoughts

    not only can that pigtail deform, changing the pressure, but it also can pick up a lot of accumulated sludge from the LWCO mounting point.--nbc
  • DavidK_2
    DavidK_2 Member Posts: 129
    Let me make sure I understand

    The same pipe that feeds the first floor radiator also feeds the second floor radiator.

    The second floor radiator gets heat. The first floor radiator does not get heat?

    So somehow, the steam completely misses the first floor radiator on its way up to the second floor?

    There must be some heat in the room since if nothing else the pipe gives off heat.

    Can you feel any heat at all in the first floor radiator? How close does the heat get?

    I assume its valve is all the way open?

    Is this a new problem that suddenly occurred? Anything you can remember that might have happened at about the same time?
  • Problems

    From your pictures I can see a lot of little items that need to be changed. I'd really consider getting a steam pro to look at your system. Go to the top of this page and look under Find a Professional", scroll down to "States" and look under your State. (The zip code function has new software and sometimes  isn't reliable)  and see if there is a steam pro located near you.  This would be the fastest and easiest way to solve your heating problems. 

    You might also trace out your piping system.  How many steams mains carry the steam away from the boiler to the radiators? Does each steam main have a main vent on it?

    Check the valve and the radiator slope on the non working radiators as these are two things which can stop steam getting into a radiator. Make sure the valves (taps) on the pipe going into each radiator are all the way open. On a 1 pipe steam system these valves have to be completely open or completely closed, never half way. Also make sure the radiators are slightly sloped towards the side where the pipe is attached to them. This helps the condensate (water) drain back out of the radiators.

    As was mentioned, insulation on the pipes that carry steam would be a big help to your system.

    Let us know what type of air vents you have on your radiators. See if there are any names and/or numbers on these vents. Are all the vents the same make and model?

    You might try changing a air vent from the radiator that is working and try it on a radiator that isn't working. Make sure you do this when the boiler is turned off and the radiator cool as you don't want to risk a steam burn. They hurt!

    - Rod
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