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Hoffman or Gorton vent?

mgmine Member Posts: 58
I can buy Hoffman 1a vents for about $15 dollars each or Gorton vents for about $20 each (price includes tax and shipping on both). Searching all the posts I have seen mixed reviews on the Hoffman's. Some love them and some hate them because they are hard to adjust. Some say that you can't use the Gorton web site to gauge which size to use. For the small difference in price I don't want to by things twice. If I get the Gorton and it is the wrong size I can't adjust it. If I get the Hoffman and it turns out not to be adjustable then I haven't achieved what I am trying to do which is save fuel and have hot radiators. I do plan on getting Gorton #2's for the main vents.


  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    Both brands are excellent quality

      Rather than a shot in the dark, why don't you let math be your deciding factor?

  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Radiator Vents

    Hi- I need to first mention that one of the rules on this board is that we don't discuss pricing!!!

    Before deciding on radiator vents I would suggest you get a booklet on venting by Gerry Gill & Steve Pajek which is available in the Shop section of this website. http://www.heatinghelp.com/products/Steam-Heating-Books/25/146/Balancing-Steam-Systems-Using-a-Vent-Capacity-Chart-by-Gerry-Gill-and-Steve-Pajek

    Both the Gortons and the Hoffman 1A are good vents. It just depends on whether you want fixed or adjustable. The venting book mentioned above will help you choose the right sized vents for your system. For an adjustable vent I use the Vent-Rite #1.  With Radiator vents, like most other things in life, you get what you pay for.

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    choice of main vents

    why not get the main vents first? gorton #2's are the most capacious, so i would start with 1 for each dry return, and see how the system behaves. they should allow the air to escape silently, with no resistance. also they will let the air back in at the end of the cycle. while you can make some calculations of the volume of the pipes, and header, there is also the air in the steam chest of the boiler to be let out. just keep on adding them until you have silence.

    when the mains are silent, then look at the radiator vents, and whether any of them are slow, and put the 1a's on there--nbc
  • mgmine
    mgmine Member Posts: 58
    Avoid shipping twice

    The Gorton's are a definite however if I get them and then have to get the other vents I'll have to pay shipping twice. Right now I have Maid of the Mist from Home Depot that may or may not be working right. I know that I do have to replace at least 3 of them so I'd like to do it all at once.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    radiator air vents

    get enough of these to replace the cheapies from the home depot:


    and depending on thge length of your mains, order 2 gorton #2's for each main [any excess can be sent back]--nbc
  • AlexR
    AlexR Member Posts: 61

    For $20 each, it's not terrible to order a few extra radiator vents to keep as spares.  Using the venting capacity chart to come up with what you think is right, then order an extra one or two.  That gives you some flexibility to swap them around if needed.  Also, they'll wear out from use eventually, but the spares don't go bad.  Plus you can impress your neighbors if they ever complain about a non-working radiator and you can whip out a spare vent to fix it.

    For what it's worth, I'm pretty happy with all the Gorton radiator vents I have. 
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,849
    Not necessarily.

    It would be a mistake to buy a whole bunch of one kind of vent without measuring the volume of the runouts/risers and radiators to determine how much venting is needed. If you vent them all at the same rate, the ones nearest the thermostat tend to get hot first and shut everything down.

    And not all the vents at the Home Depot are junk. I'm pretty happy with my Maid-O-Mist vents. They don't have any good main vents there, but the M-O-Ms are pretty good radiator vents.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • mgmine
    mgmine Member Posts: 58
    non adjustable vs. Hoffman's

    The ones  I have now have are non adjustable and although some of them work others don't. Even with the ones that work I have no idea how well they are working.The benefit as I see it of the Hoffman's is that I can adjust them however the Gorton's seem to be straight forward, at least as far as their web site would indicate. There are things that I don't think that math could solve as far as the construction of my house. It is 180 years old and solid stone. Because it is stone the pipes are exposed giving off more radiation, There are bends in the pipe because they the pipe has to be able to get around stone obstructions. All in all I know that some radiators although closer to the boiler should be vented faster some a little slower.  One of them on the very end of the line on the second floor gets no heat at all even with a new Maid of the mist vent.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    Non-working vents

    When you say some vents do not work, have you given them the blow through test? Will steam come out of the vent hole if the vent is removed?

    I think all radiator vents should only be replaced when they fail the blow through test, or if they are more likely to spit in operation (some makes have no floats inside). As they are only handling the air in the riser, and the radiator, they can all start being the same size, and then be changed for larger capacities when every thing is working, but still needs a bit more balancing.

    This is why I got the main venting working first. Later, for the third floor, I did put some much larger gorton d's on to handle the top.it would be difficult to order everything you need in just one shipment.--NBC
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,506
    edited October 2012
    My opinions

    I have Gorton 1 main vents (several) and Hoffman 1As on all of my radiators.  The 1As with some time and patience can be adjusted very accurately to whatever your need may be but it takes tinkering.

    I have had issues with my 1As occasionally getting water trapped in the orifice, only a small drop but its enough to stop the radiator from heatting in my setup.  By doing 3 degree recoverys in the morning I seem to have solved this problem for the most part.

    Now for the nitpicking.

    I installed Gortons on my neighbors radiators as I wasn't happy with the clicking of the Hoffman 1As on my own radiators.  The Hoffman 1As click and clack like an oil can when they open or close, but they seem to work VERY well and fast.  The Gorton's on the other hand are slower and instead of clicking they may hiss or puff slightly as they open and close.  I've also heard rumors that Gorton's will let more steam pass overall than Hoffman's but I have no proof of this my self but it makes sense as they don't seem to react as fast.

    At this point in time I would say 1As if you want to be able to fine tune everything and Gorton's if you don't care about fine tuning and may not like the clicking \ clacking.

    After living with the occasional clicking and clacking for a year I'll be honest,  we don't even notice it anymore.   Mine mainly do it during a recovery in the morning, otherwise the steam never even gets close to the vents.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • mgmine
    mgmine Member Posts: 58
    Mix and match

    Thanks I'm going to order 3 Gorton #2's and use two of them on one main and one of them along with a Hoffman #75 on the other. As far as new ones for the radiators maybe I'll just go with 6 Hoffman's and see how they work out. I can get these without shipping charges. I don't think the clicking will bother me actually it may reassure me that something is working! My ultimate goal is to cut down on my oil consumption if possible.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    Noisy radiator vents

    Now that my pressure is reduced, and my main venting so capacious, the loud oil can click is history on my system, and at times I cannot hear if the system is running or not(or am I just getting deaf?).

    if the radiator vents are called on to vent tmore than their radiator/riser, by result of inadequate main vents, then you will certainly hear them close.

    I didn't mind the noise, and neither did our Gas company, who was able to sell extra fuel to force the air out of the system!--NBC
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,506
    noisy vents

    The clicking of the Hoffman's is the nature of the vent and is not related to pressure.

    It is true, that perhaps Gorton's on my system would be silent most of the time but on my neighbors they are not. Been trying to get him to install more main venting for over a year now. I would do it, but I've got enough crawl space work of my own to deal with.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Mark N
    Mark N Member Posts: 1,115

    In the course of normal operation the vents on the rads will not close they will only vent air. The thermostat will have turned off the boiler long before the rads completely heat. I've lived with steam heat for 20 plus years and I've never heard my vents make any noise. The only way a know the boiler is running is I feel the heat. I have Gorton vents on my system.
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