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Radiator conversion: water to steam

I am looking at several fancy hot-water radiators later tonight to use on my steam system.  What is involved with getting the maximum efficiency from these rads using steam?  I have read "It's All in the Venting" and may "short-circuit" the top connections of these rads, per the article.  Anything else I can/should do?



Thank you,



Mike

Comments

  • Luv'nsteam
    Luv'nsteam Member Posts: 272
    Lots'a lookers, but no takers

    When I post a question and no one answers, I begin to wonder if I asked a really difficult question or a really knuckle-headed question.  So, which is it??  :  )



    Thank you,



    Mike

  • Brian_74
    Brian_74 Member Posts: 237
    I don't know, but the standard responses are…

    Can you post some pictures?

    Is this a one or two pipe system?
    1929 Ideal Heating vapor system.
  • Luv'nsteam
    Luv'nsteam Member Posts: 272
    edited February 2010
    Some specs

    Sorry, no pics.  I did put a down payment on two, though.  These are ornamental, hot-water, three column radiators with an opening at each end at the bottom.  I think one end was a size larger than the other.  At one end, there is a small valve at the top.  This resembles the Hoffman #3 vacuum valve.  The bottom and top of each section of radiator is open to the next radiator section, while the tops of each outer end section are plugged.  These particular radiators are 26" tall and have an EDR of 3.75 per section with 14 sections in one and 15 sections in the second.  I have already crunched the heat loss numbers and I need a total EDR of 45 for each radiator.  I will be need to reduce each radiator to 12 sections each.



    My system is one-pipe steam and these radiators will be on the third floor.  Each will sit on top of its own riser and each riser will be vented.  The valves will be 1 1/4" non-angle.  Neither of these risers currently exist.  I have (using TLAOSH and Greening Steam) figured all numbers for proper sizes of each pipe and fittings in the system for both risers and horizontal run outs, as well as, the main that will be delivering this steam (I also considered condensate function of each pipe, as well).  I also included in my numbers session the three existing radiators (2 on first floor, one on second, served by the same two risers), their individual EDR's and valve size & configuration.  Oh, I also did all of the math to figure out venting for each section of main, riser and all rads.  If I had a degree, I might consider one-pipe steam heating engineer for my next career.  Just kidding.  :  )



    After reading "It's All in the Venting", by John Schultz, my only thought for modification so far, other than sealing one bottom end and installing a regular air vent (Gorton), was to install a pipe, sealed at both ends internally, across the top sections, inside of each radiator, to effectively separate the top of each section, mimicking the physical structure of all of my current one-pipe steam radiators.  In the article, the author refers to this as "short circuiting" the radiator.  Does this make sense for my application?  Is there any other ideas or suggestions or even a rule or two that I should follow for making these rads work on my system?



    Sorry this is so long.



    Thank you,



    Mike
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,567
    i think ...

    mike .. i think that I am the only one in recent time that has actually "fixed the short circuit" on my recently added rad .. if you read the article .. the "problem" is the short circuit of steam .. so by adding the top pipe .. you are fixing the short circuit .. anyway .. i found that I had to use a 1" or was it 3/4" pipe since there were spuds on the internal nipples .. i sealed the ends with propoxy ..



    i discuss it a bit in this thread .. http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/129044/radiator-short-circuiting .. although I meant to run some datalogger numbers with and without the pipe .. I have not yet done so .. my feeling is that it certainly didn't take much to do and I didn't hurt anything by doing it .. since the one end-cap is now telfon taped it should be easy to open it up again should I need to ..



    the biggest problem that I had was getting the propoxy plug small enough to clear the internal nipple spuds .. it sounds easier than it is .. you can't just stick the propoxy in the pipe or it will fall out .. so you need to lip over the pipe somewhat .. but in doing so, you are increasing the O.D. of the pipe and the fit through the nipples is pretty tight ..



    i hope this helps .. hopefully I will get around to running some datalogging on the rad in the next few days .. my approach will be to set the datalogger probe on a central bottom interior tube .. since in theory those are the tubes that are not getting the steam due to the short circuit effect.



    if you learn anything more I hope you share it with us... as I learn more I will share as well .. i do not think that anyone else here has probably every done this so there isn't much of an experience pool to draw from. but of course, if anyone has ever done this .. please chime in.
    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
  • Luv'nsteam
    Luv'nsteam Member Posts: 272
    Short circuit

    Hello Jpf. Thanks for the correction of eliminating the short circuit, not causing one. And, you are likely correct about not too many others doing this. I am actually a little shocked in my research looking for additional rads for my heating system. Many of the units I have found are being sold by plumbers and HVAC folks and neither has a clue about EDR.  Go figure!



    Since this mod makes sense in my feeble brain, I am going to perform it on both of the hot water rads. However I accomplish it, I will post it here and hopefully with pictures too. 



    You might appreciate this, there was a horizontal run-out, of about 16 feet in length, that ran across the top of my basement ceiling.  The radiator had been removed in the past (and is MIA) and where the rad sat is now a hearth and wood stove, and everyone banged their head on the dog-gone pipe.  So I decided to remove it.  However, it was welded to the main.  What to do, what to do?  Here is what I did do and it worked: using the universal saw (Sawz-all), I cut the run-out off the main leaving a 2" stub.  Then I purchased a pipe cap that fit over the 1 1/4" stub.  I marked, drilled and tapped in three locations around the perimeter of the cap, 5/16" x 18 holes and screwed pointed & hardened set screws into each hole.  I have this incredible two part epoxy called Por-Putty (available from Restomotive in NJ, they make really cool car restoration products) and filled the interior of the cap with a nice, thick coating of the epoxy.  I then gently pressed this on to the end of the stub to completely seal the end of the stub and clamped down on all three set screws tightly securing the cap to the end.  It does not move, it does not leak and no one bangs there head on the run-out anymore.  Mission accomplished!  Time for a beer.  :  )



    For repairing the short circuit, I am fortunate enough to have a friend who is a NASA certified machinist and tool & die maker.  If need be, I will have custom made pipes with welded ends to fit into the upper pass-through nipples.  This, at the moment, is only an idea.  I will decide what to do after I disassemble the sections for inspection and actual modifications.  I will keep you informed.



    On a side note, have you subscribed to this thread?  If so, are you receiving an email each time?  For whatever reason, I am not getting one each time someone replies.  I have the darndest issues with computers! 



    Thanks and happy shoveling, depending where you are today,



    Mike
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    Then you are talking to the wrong plumbers

    water to steam is better than steam to water. the question is always in getting that 1/8" plug out for the steam vent with out cracking the radiator. also the bushing will need to be taken out and the supply will be of a larger size for steam , usually.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Luv'nsteam
    Luv'nsteam Member Posts: 272
    edited February 2010
    Wrong plumbers

    Hi Charlie.  I do not doubt that at all.  In my area, there are many, many steam plants.  However, there are only a few steam techs.  And after talking with many of these gentlemen, they are quite ignorant.  For instance, one of my friends who works for one of the more knowledgeable steam HVAC companies in my area, when I asked him about adding the radiators to the third floor, he told me all they would do is "disconnect a rad on the second floor, install a tee and throw up a riser to the third floor".  When I asked him about sizing the pipe for condensate return, he said they would stick with the size of the existing riser.  Period.  Another company in the area that has been servicing this area for around 100 years, came out to give me a boiler estimate.  After several no shows, when he finally arrived, he looked at my boiler and left.  Not once did he look at a single radiator or ask me any questions about the condition of my system or anything else for that matter.  I then had to call the company three times before I got an estimate of $6500.00 with zero information about the kind, size or install time of a new boiler.  Another tech from this same company, however, turned me on to Mr. Dan Holohan, so it was not completely a waist.  Two other companies never even showed up.  These lame experiences are what pushed me to find & buy TLAOSH, We Got Steam Heat, and the little book of common problems and repairs (I don't recall the title, but it is included with the "Steamy Deal" package.  For these books, heatinghelp.com and all of the outstanding information and helpful people on The Wall, I am truly grateful.  Without all of this, I would never have been able to do what I am doing to my heating equipment.



    As for the conversion, the two rads I bought (I have yet to pick them up) have already been sand-blasted and primed.  I am not concerned about removing the plugs or valves.  Iodine is an amazing chemical for dissolving rust and I also have an acetylene torch for thermal removal assistance.  For what it is worth, I am a certified type 1 refrigerant tech and have been using a torch for sealed system repair and rusted fastener removal for many, many years.  Prior to becoming an A/C&R tech, I was a small engine mechanic and I do my own repairs on our vehicles.  I mention this only because all of these things often require disassembling stubborn fasteners and metal assemblies.



    I also don't mind telling you Charlie, I really like your signature line.  It so very true.



    Thank you,



    Mike
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,567
    instead of plug removal...

    i simply drilled/tapped in the vicinity of the plug. i suppose it i were better skilled i could have tried to drill out the plug (which is normally a flathead screw of some sort)
    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
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,567
    yes .. subscribe alerts not working

    i have noticed that the subscribe alerts have not been working .. Dan ? 
    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
  • Polycarp
    Polycarp Member Posts: 135
    "pros"

    My experience with local "pros" was almost exactly the same as yours.  That's why I ended up installing my own boiler.  I did it somewhat wrong because I am a knucklehead - wish I had found the Wall back then - and I still did it better than what the local guys were proposing. 



    Now that I am looking to fix my mistakes, the local guys are still proposing to do it wrong .. even when I tell them what right is.  So it is up to me again .. this time with a lot more knowledge and understanding.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,438
    Looking into it.

    Thanks.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Luv'nsteam
    Luv'nsteam Member Posts: 272
    Email alert test

    Hi Dan.  Here is my post for the subscriber test.  Would you also post something to see if it comes to me?  I will email you so you are aware I did post.



    Thank you,



    Mike
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,438
    I subscribed to this thread

    and just got this in an e-mail:







    There's been a new post on a thread you're subscribed to. Please visit

    the link below to view the update.











    [url=http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/130101/Radiator-conversion-water-to-steam#p1190796]http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/130101/Radiator-conversion-water-to-steam#p1190796















    Thank You,







    HeatingHelp.com
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,438
    Test post for Mike.

    Let me know if you get the e-mail. Thanks. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,842
    No need

    to fix the "short-circuit" across the top of these rads unless it's actually a problem. This type of rad was used a lot on steam systems and it works fine.



    You can drill out the lower plug using a stepped drill bit and clean the threads with a 1/8" pipe tap. We do this all the time. Then plug the top hole with a regular 1/8" pipe plug.



    How about some pics? I'd love to see the vents on these things.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,438
    Just got another one:

    There's been a new post on a thread you're subscribed

    to. Please visit the link below to view the update.







    [url=http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/130101/Radiator-conversion-water-to-steam#p1190814]http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/130101/Radiator-conversion-water-to-steam#p1190814







    Thank You,







    HeatingHelp.com
    Retired and loving it.
  • Luv'nsteam
    Luv'nsteam Member Posts: 272
    no alerts

    Hi Dan, still not getting email alerts.



    Thank you,



    Mike
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,438
    I just got this one, making me aware of your post:

    There's been a new post on a thread you're subscribed

    to. Please visit the link below to view the update.







    [url=http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/130101/Radiator-conversion-water-to-steam#p1190818]http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/130101/Radiator-conversion-water-to-steam#p1190818







    Thank You,







    HeatingHelp.com
    Retired and loving it.
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,567
    no alert for me either

    i sub'd here around 11:30AM .. and have not gotten an alert for the last few posts. 
    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
  • Luv'nsteam
    Luv'nsteam Member Posts: 272
    Old radiator pics

    Steamhead, my apologies for not responding to your request earlier.  For reasons unknown to me (and jpf321) neither of us is receiving any email alerts when someone responds to a subscribed-to thread.  At any rate, when I pick up the radiators I will definitely post pics.  I even recently got a call from a member of my RE club who claims to have steam radiators with what he described as torches and flowers embossed on the iron.  I can't wait to see these.  I hope to get them all in the next two weeks or so: I had to fix my trailer first.  To much wait to lift in my truck!  I'll be a posting soon!  :  )





    Thank you,



    Mike
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,567
    fyi .. still no alerts for me :-( 3/5/10

    waiting for alert
    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
This discussion has been closed.