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Main line steam vent

PKBMax
PKBMax Member Posts: 6
Greetings. I'm new to steam heat so please be patient...



Bought a house a couple months ago and replaced the old oil boiler with a gas Burnham, and removed the asbestos insulation.



We have a 1 pipe system, with radiators that are probably original to the house (late 1920's). Coming out of the boiler 2" pipe goes around the basement in a circuit, ending with a main line vent Ventrite No. 35 before connecting back to the boiler. The entire circuit is pitched to direct condensate back to the boiler. many smaller 1" - 1.5" pipes go off of the central circuit directly to the radiators.



Upon first firing up this system 1 radiator on the 2nd floor got super hot, while most of the others remained cold. I replaced all of the radiator vents and this improved the situation dramatically, despite an obvious need for more balancing.



That said, the main line takes a long time to warm up, and the radiators near the end of the line are equally slow to get heat.



To help I have insulated the main line with 1/2" fiberglass, except the joints. Insulating the other pipes and joints is a work in progress.



After reading a bunch about steam systems online I believe the Ventrite No. 35 main line vent is inadequate. The main line is approximately 50 feet of 2 inch piper. It appears to me that replacing with a Gorton No 2 would help heat it much quicker.



Am I on the right track?



As you can see in the pictures my main line vent is on the last elbow -- I understand that this is not optimal, but I probably cannot move it right now. I also cannot raise it off of the elbow because of a copper water pipe 7 inches directly above. I understand the Gorton is about 6 inches tall so I don't have much room to spare.



So steam masters: Is a Gorton No 2 the correct choice, considering I have to install it directly on the elbow?



Any other suggestions?



Also does anyone know where to buy a Gorton No 2 in the Boston area?



Thanks!

Comments

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    more main venting needed

    yes start with a gorton # 2, but you will probably need another, to let the air out easily, without paying for extra fuel. you have a long pipe, with lots of air in it. a counter-flow system such as yours will have the condensate running back underneath the steam, and needs a speedy air evacuation to work at its best. as the placement of the main vent is before the final radiator, then the sooner the air gets out, the shorter the time of delayed steam arrival will be for the end radiator.

    for the gorton vents, have a look at pexsupply.com, and don't be mislead by the gorton website if you have a look there. they imply that the venting can be done primarily with radiator vents, which is wrong. their vents are top-notch, but their implication that different sized radiator vents can "balance the system" is completely off track.--nbc
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Antlers

    Hi- If it is more convenient you can "remote" your main vents to a location where they get more clearance by using an "Antler".  Make sure the antler is sloped a bit so that any water will drain away from the vent.  Being "remoted" and having a couple of bends in the vent line also helps protect the vent from water hammer.  A pipe union is used so that the Antler can be made up on a bench and attached with one fitting which is much easier than swinging pipe wrenches between floor joists.

    - Rod
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,712
    edited October 2011
    A Gorton #2

    should vent that main quickly. It is the largest main vent made today, and will make a HUGE difference.



    The vent's location on the tee isn't textbook, but as long as water doesn't back up into the main (as from a clogged return line) you should be OK.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,784
    edited October 2011
    What kind of vents?

    I agree with everthing that has been posted.  I would not do anything before installing that Gorton #2 vent that Steamhead, nicholas, and Rod recommended and also finishing all of the insulation if it is not already done. 



    You did not mention the type of radiator vents that you installed.  Radiator vents that are too fast will cause huge problems balance and will cause the nearest radiators to steal all of the steam.  But again, get your main vent changed before doing anything more with radiator vents.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • PKBMax
    PKBMax Member Posts: 6
    Next questions

    Thanks all for your advice. I very much appreciate the help.



    The radiator vents that I installed are a combination of sizes. Mostly #5 downstairs, #6 upstairs etc. I understand that once the main line is properly vented I'll have to do more balancing of the radiator vents.



    Agreed that it's important to finish insulating the rest of the pipes. I have been using standard 3 foot lengths of fiberglass for the pipes, but I really don't know how to insulate the joints and elbows. Any advice?



    Also, is it recommended to insulate the pipes coming directly out of the radiator? Right now I start at the main riser.



    Another question: The Ventrite 35 valve that is in there now appears to be 3/4" (but I could be wrong). It looks like it's attached to some sort of adapter, maybe 1" to 3/4". The Gorton No 2 is 1/2". What is the easiest way to install this? Do I need some sort of adapter?



    And the most basic question of all, which proves my amateur status: When I install the Gorton is it as simple as wrapping with thread tape and installing, or is there something else that I should do?



    Thanks again!
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,784
    If it were me...

    I would try to get the vent a few inches above the main if possible.  It looks like you have quite a bit of clearance, so I would install a 3/4" nipple, somewhere in the area of 4 - 6" long, depending on the space you have.  Then a 3/4 x 1/2 bell reducer.  Then install the new vent into that.  Yes, wrapping the threads with teflon tape and screwing it all together with a wrench is how it's done.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • PKBMax
    PKBMax Member Posts: 6
    Actually

    I only have 7 inches from that elbow to a copper water pipe that is directly above. I wouldn't be able to raise the valve unless I did an angle, or a S shape with a couple elbows, or an antler as suggested by another poster. Is it worth it? What is the advantage of raising the valve?
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,784
    worth it

    It reduces the chance that condensate that will be running down the main will splash up into the vent and impede its performance.  If you are uncomfortable in the extra piping work, you could just intall a 3/4x/1/2 bushing reducer then install the new vent and see how it works.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Insulation

    Hi- One of the contributors on the Wall, "Crash" did a very nice writeup on insulation that maybe of help to you. http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/137178/Insulation

    - Rod
  • PKBMax
    PKBMax Member Posts: 6
    Insulating joints

    PVC covers seem pretty expensive.



    Is there a way to wrap the joints with fiberglass?



    Any other methods?



    Thanks.
  • PKBMax
    PKBMax Member Posts: 6
    Pipe material

    I'm at the store buying pieces to raise it off the elbow. Should I use black steel?



    thanks
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    black iron

    will do what you need...
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    Is it Ventrite 35 week?

    Seems like every time I show up, there's another 35.  Anyway the ventrite 35 is 1/2" female on the inside, and 3/4" male on the outside.  Since your 35 is screwed into a fitting, the hole is 3/4".  This is a very good size to have. 



    Likely, the reason the Ventrite 35 failed to begin with, is because of the poor location that it is installed in.  If you can imagine steam and water flying down the 50 foot mainline, at 50 miles per hour, then smacking into a dead end, where your 35 is.  The same fate is in store for your new Gorton, unless you modify the situation a bit to help it out.



    My suggestion is build the antler like what was suggested above, and then mount the Gorton way back to the right, and up into the floor joists.  Get it up high and 45 your way to the antler.
  • moneypitfeeder
    moneypitfeeder Member Posts: 249
    the beauty of threaded pipe

    Is that you don't have to center the antler on the main, if you come up with a nipple, throw a 90 on it, you can turn that 90 so that the antler and the vent are not directly above the steam main so that you can avoid the water line. The air doesn't care if it it parallel to the main or slightly off center. Just make sure that it pitches very slightly back to the nipple so that any water that makes it up there will drain back to the main. Definately use a union somewhere on it so in the future when you have to change a vent out, you can easily break the union and work on the antler on a bench and not in the rafters.
    steam newbie
  • PKBMax
    PKBMax Member Posts: 6
    Now I get it...

    Thanks for the excellent clarification. Now I fully understand that it's not an option to leave the vent on the elbow.



    My current plan is to go up 4-5 inches then use a 45 degree corner to go off to the right a bit and mount the Gorton 2. I would use a 90 degree corner but I can't really figure out how to make sure the pipe pitches back off of that.



    Sound good?
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