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2-pipe steam with no traps?

I looked at a steam job in an 1880 brick house.  It has Griffing radiators, and no apparent steam traps on the radiators.  Nor are the mains trapped.  It also has one radiator hooked up with one-pipe steam.  There are about five of the old radiators and some column radiators in the house.  The customer is currently using 2000 gallons of fuel oil per year.  Do I add steam traps?


  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 11,322
    That's a 2-pipe air-vent system

    each radiator should have shutoff valves on both the supply and return connections, and an air vent. This system did not use traps, as they had not been invented yet.

    The main difference between this system and one with traps, is that the return lines only handle condensate- not air, the way a Vapor system does. The air vents on the rads take care of venting them.

    The steam mains on this system should be well vented, but NOT the return lines. We don't want to encourage steam to get into the returns, since this may cause banging. Also, keep the boiler pressure low with a Vaporstat.

    It looks like whoever did the piping around the boiler couldn't be bothered with reading the manual. Also, when was the last time the boiler was properly serviced, i.e. opened up, brushed, vacuumed and tuned with a digital analyzer?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
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