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Leaking one-pipe steam rads

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On second floor, first floor steam rads are fine. Radiators are pitched toward supply valve. Boiler is newer, low-water content. Sorry, no idea on size of boiler or EDR and no pictures. I do know there are two mains and that they both appear to be parallel flow and I also saw at least one dripped riser (I was only in basement for a couple minutes)



This is not my system or building, I am just trying to help the owner out and I am unable to do the investigating myself. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated, as always.





Thank you,



Mike

Comments

  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
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    Rads?

    Hi Mike-  ""leaking rads" ? Where are they leaking? Pictures of the leaking rads would be a big help.

    - Rod
  • Luv'nsteam
    Luv'nsteam Member Posts: 278
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    Here are a couple pix

    One rad is very obviously leaned toward the supply valve, the second, I am not so sure, as I had no level with me. Neither appears to be cracked or broken and the large one leaked from the air vent.



    Any other questions?



    Thank you,



    Mike
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    leaking vent

    have you checked the pressure on this system? a plugged pressuretrol could be allowing the pressure to rise to the point of forcing water out from the vent.

    best thing is to catch it leaking with a flashlight at night, then once the leak is identified, it will be easier to determine the next course of action.--nbc
  • Luv'nsteam
    Luv'nsteam Member Posts: 278
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    I am unable to check

    To check pressure at any time. However, if the pressure was to high, why is not forcing water out of any rads on first floor or the others on the second or thiird floor?



    Thank you,



    Mike
  • Luv'nsteam
    Luv'nsteam Member Posts: 278
    edited February 2012
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    I am unable to check

    Pressure at any time. However, if the pressure was to high, why is it not forcing water out of any rads on first floor or the others on the second or thiird floor?



    Thank you,



    Mike.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,297
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    If it's leaking from the vent...

    either the pressure is too high or there is something wrong with the vent (or the vent is just a little flaky -- that happens, too).



    The fact that no other vent seems to be doing it suggests the vent as the problem.  With regard to floor to floor variation, remember that steam weighs essentially nothing, so there is no measurable pressure difference from floor to floor (for the nit-pickers, yes there is a difference.  I challenge you to measure it with anything other than a sensitive altimeter).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Luv'nsteam
    Luv'nsteam Member Posts: 278
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    Leaking vents

    I will share this information with the owner.



    As I drifted off to sleep last night I was thinking about this system and what else I saw when I did look at it. For starters, the water level was not visible in the sight glass because it was to high and the near-boiler piping looked wrong. There is not much of a header to speak of and the equalizer pipe seemed to be to small of a diameter. Are either of these things possibly connected to the radiators leaking from the vents?



    NBC and Jamie - thank you for the replies.



    Thank you,



    Mike
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    connection

    yes, as the pressure on some badly maintained systems rises into the stratosphere, the water in the returns is raised up, leaving less water in the boiler, and may trip the lwco. the typical kludge is to over-fill the boiler, so there is still some waterline left to keep steaming. a pressure check is the first test i would make.

    next test would be the back-pressure of venting. if the bulk of the air is being forced out the rad vents instead of the main vents, then some of this excess water in the system will be blown out somewhere. oddly enough the first floor vents have enough water in them to close the floats, while the upper vents are dealing with a fine mist.

    maybe a radiator gauge would help the homeowner keep track of the system pressure.--nbc
  • Luv'nsteam
    Luv'nsteam Member Posts: 278
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    Great information

    But since it is not my system and I have not been hired to repair it, I think I am going to bow out and leave it to whomever she highers. I have suggested she find someone from heatinghelp and hopefully she will have good luck - the local 'steam' techs are the reason I own all of Dan's books on steam and learned what I have in order to work on my own system.



    Thank you again, Rod, NBC and Jamie.



    Regards,



    Mike
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    Am I seeing things?

    It looks like the vent on that white radiator is crooked. It could be cross-threaded or bent--and possibly cracked. Something doesn't look right there.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Luv'nsteam
    Luv'nsteam Member Posts: 278
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    Are my eyes funny or what?

    Nope, Hap Hazzard, your eyes are just fine. It seems the tenant rotated the air vent and I assume it was either to stop the heating of the living space or stop the leaking of the water, not really sure. In either event, the tenant has been successfully evicted and now the repairs get started.



    Thanks,



    Mike
This discussion has been closed.