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Vexing Venting Issue

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FJL
FJL Member Posts: 354
I have a one-pipe steam system in a four-story, four unit apartment building.



I had a leaking wet return repaired today and the system is behaving differently. It must have to do with venting, but I can't figure out why it is happening.



Before the wet return leak was fixed, two risers located in the living room were the first to fill with steam after the boiler fired up. From what I could tell by feeling the risers, they filled with steam before the radiators began venting. This makes sense because each riser is vented at the top by two Gorton 2 vents.



After the wet return leak was fixed, the boiler fired up and the first riser fills with steam, as before, but now the second riser does not. Three other risers in the apartment. located further down the main, fill with steam before the second living room riser gets any steam.



I noticed that the air vent on the radiator on the second living room riser started the pant and vent while the riser was still cold, before it had filled with steam. I can only conclude that this means that the Gordon 2 vents on this riser are not venting as they should.



But what is perplexing me is why they appeared to vent before the wet return leak was fixed, but not afterward.



What am I not understanding or missing?

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  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
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    Follow Up Info . . .

    This morning I noticed a radiator vent on a riser in another room begin panting before the riser got warm. This means that that the radiator vents are venting the radiator and the risers, and that the vents on the risers have failed. Correct?



    What I don't understand is why, before the leak in the wet return was repaired, the risers filled with steam before the the radiator vents began to start venting.



    This doesn't make sense to me.
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    Venting

    If the air from the main was venting through the radiator, the riser would still get warm. If it isn't, it can only mean that the air you hear escaping from the radiator is coming from the return. Can you post some pictures of all the new piping and include all the near-boiler piping?
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
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    Piping

    Here is the near boiler piping of the header: http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/140318/Burnham-IN11-Header-Question



    If you need to see some other piping, such as piping by the area where the return is, let me know.



    I'll try to post some pictures of the new return before leaving for work.
  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
    edited February 2012
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    Photos

    How does the pitch of the return pipe affect my problem? I checked it with a level, and it pitched toward the boiler, but as it gets closer it levels off.  The bent piece of pipe near the cement square is the old rotted pipe.



    I am off to work.  Will check in at the end of the day.



    Thanks.



    Here are pix:







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    Uploaded with ImageShack.us
  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
    edited February 2012
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    Photos

    Having hard time for some reason posting photos directly from computer.







    Uploaded with ImageShack.us
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    Pipe pitch

    Could one of the supply pipes have changed it's pitch during the recent repairs? Check them with a level before you insulate them to make sure there are no sags which can trap the air and make the system pant as pressure tries to push the water out of the way.

    Is the boiler water clean after the work? Looks like it could be full of pipe dope!

    Can you label the return pipes next to the boiler in your picture as it is a little difficult to see what is what

    If the pressure has been raised up, it will prevent the vents from working, either temporarily, or permanently, so check that too.

    The pitch of the return is not important as it is below the waterline of the boiler.--NBC
  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
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    Supply Pipes

    I am not sure which pipe is the "supply" pipe.  Are you talking about the pipe that travels from the wall, on the floor, to the loop, and then into what I think is the equalizer (the equalizer not being fully shown in the picture)?

    And are these pipes supposed to be insulated?  If so, I don't know why that wasn't done at the time of installation. 

    After the return was repaired, my guy put a chemical cleanser in the boiler to clean out all the gunk and sludge. 

    FWIW, something is trapping air in the system.  The boiler turned on this morning.  Vents started to pant, but the riser was not hot or warm.  In the basement, the pressure gauge was hitting 15 oz and one of the Gorton 2s on the main was still closing and the other seemed to be closed, but was not hot.  These two Gorton 2s are new, installed within the last 7 - 10 days.
  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
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    Wet Return

    I have a wet return, not a dry return.  I understand that air can escape from a dry return, but from a wet return also?
  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 958
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    I'm voting for

    a boiler water line fouled and full of pipe dope+cutting oils.  The panting vents is a telltale sign.  



    Time for a skimmin'
    terry
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,430
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    oops...

    was the chemical cleanser flushed out?  Completely?  It has to be.  I'm with Terry -- it's skimming time -- but I'm going to bet you may need a couple of drains and refills to get rid of the cleanser.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
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    Cleanser

    Cleanser has not been cleaned out. My guy is coming back Sat to flush the entire system, rads and all. He wanted the cleanser to operate in the system for a few days.
  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
    edited February 2012
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    Wet Return Picture

    Here is another picture that might help you understand how the wet return was piped into the Hartford Loop. Still not sure what you mean by "supply" line. The wet return pipe is the pipe with the yellow and red handle valves.



    Here is picture:







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  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
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    Explanation of Piping

    NBC: You can find an explanation of the piping for the wet return and hartford loop in this thread. Just scroll down to find a photo with letters and arrows and my explanation:



    http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/140318/Burnham-IN11-Header-Question



    Thanks.
  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
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    Maybe not so vexing after all . . .

    Looks like one of the two Gorton 2 vents on the main in the basement has failed.  Explains a lot if it, in fact, has failed.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    failed gorton

    when you replace it, you can still soak the old vent in vinegar, and put it back in service, as you can never be over [main] vented. i have 18 vents for 55 rads, if that gives any guide.--nbc
  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
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    Gorton 2 Vent

    The failed vent is not more than two weeks old, if that much.  I'd like to know what caused it to fail in such a short time.  But I will save it.  I have many other vents from radiators that have been leaking steam.  I will try soaking them as well.  I don't mind replacing one or two, but more than that becomes an unwanted expense. 



    Do you soak in dilute vinegar or full strength and for how long?



    Thanks again.
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