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Help w 2 pipe system

My sister's home is heated by a 140000 btu burnham boiler that feeds a 2 pipe steam system. There are two separate mains without vents. The only vents are located at the top of the dry return where it drops to join the wet return.(Total of 2 vents- one for each dry return)

Her complaint is that the house heats unevenly and some radiators do not get hot.

The radiators do not have thermostatic traps that I can see. Might they be internal or none at all?

The system also does not have an f&t trap.

What am I missing here? Would vents on the steam main help or just replace the dry return vents?


  • Boiler wrestlerBoiler wrestler Member Posts: 35

    Your sister has an orifice system, therefore no traps.  The first thing I would recommend addressing is the near boiler piping, as it is far from correct. No header, no equalizer. 

    Second order of business would be making sure all radiators are still orificed. And finally make sure main vents are good. O and while you're at it you could check to see the boiler isn't grossly oversized. With a little care that system can be made to work great.

  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 4,408
    Many problems

    That boiler has no header and without a proper header it's not going to make dry steam. Look at the boiler manual and find the piping diagram, you will see that boiler is not piped correctly. The vents are probably not operating any more and should be replaced with proper sized vents.

    What model is that boiler and what is the EDR of all the radiators?

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 6,653
    and furthermore...

    if that really is an orifice system -- or, for that matter, any other flavour of vapour system, which it certainly appears to be...

    The pressure is 'way too high.    The very first thing you do is get yourself a vaporstat, and add it to the boiler, preferably on its own pigtail.  Set it to a cutout of no more than 12 ounces, and a differential of 8 ounces to start with anyway.  That alone may help a lot. 

    Those systems simply won't work right on any higher pressure at all, and a pressure as high as you have it set may explain a lot of the unevenness and the fact that some radiators don't heat at all.

    Having done that, replace the two vents on the top of the dry return with Gorton #2s.  That's not hard to do, either, and should help a lot more.  You don't need any other vents, nor do you need an F&T.

    Then you can set about fixing the near boiler piping, which is a catastrophe.  It's a bit of a wonder that it heats properly at all...

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • JStarJStar Member Posts: 2,668

    All great advice. That is a very unhealthy system right now. What a complete disrepect to such an otherwise wonderful two-pipe system.
    - Joe Starosielec
    [email protected]
  • RodRod Posts: 2,067
    Boiler Piping Problems


         Though I can't see the front of the boiler, it looks like a Burnham Independence.

    Like others have already mentioned, the first thing that needs to be fixed is the near boiler piping. Here's a link to a video explaining the importance of properly configured piping:

      I've also attached a pdf of the recommended piping layout for the Independence.

    The "alternate piping method" would be the best way to go. Dimensions and proper pipe sizes are very important.  This diagram is from Page 17 in the Burnham Independence installation manual. For proper operation of the system, it's very important that the manufacturer's installation instructions are closely followed.

    - Rod
  • NYchrisNYchris Member Posts: 3
    Thank you

    Thank you for all the help. I will be over there today to look at the system again.
This discussion has been closed.


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