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The pipes to nowhere

I recently moved into my first home with steam heat. It is an older set up where the steams returns down the same pipe it came from. At one time my boiler was used to heat the whole house but it was later split into a duplex. At that point another boiler was added and the pipes going upstairs were cut and sealed at some unknown point. I wanted to know if these were causing me a problem?

To give more info when I moved in and tested the system it was easy to say that it was very loud and clacked and vented steam into the place. The land lord said that was normal but I did not agree and have been trying to rebalance the system with new vents. The problem is I keep getting this vacuum problem where air is being vented out and sucked back in or not opening or closing all the way. This happens as the system pushes air out before the radiators heat up. I am trying to figure out culprits before I make my demands to the landlord.


  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520

    Any chance you could take some pics in the boiler room of the near boiler piping and the mains? Some infor on the boilers themselves would also be helpful. When you say you're playing around with venting, do you mean those on the radiators or those in the boiler room. Start with the boiler room first. I'm just a homeowner so others will probably be better qualified to answer you questions, but as a landlord, I will say that your situation is best resolved by explaining that those noises really mean $$$$$. That will usually get a landord's attention!
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • JHprovidence
    JHprovidence Member Posts: 51
    basement vent

    I will take pics when I get a chance. When it comes to vents in the basement there are none. This system vents right at the radiators. The picture represents how this system works. This is a style that I can't seem to find info on in these threads. Steam goes up and water comes back down. There is no separate return. besides a pipe that comes off an inch before where the steam comes out. The Boiler is a very old ARCO. It says 1904 on it and this house was build in 1937.. I think. I have determined one supply value has a crack in it as well plus there are the two pipes that go off up stairs somewhere and are apparently sealed off where they end. I appreciate any help or maybe where to look.
  • steamedchicago
    steamedchicago Member Posts: 72
    counterflow one pipe

    What you've got is a counterflow one pipe system.  That's pretty common in houses of your age.  there should be a main vent or vents in the basement, near where the last riser goes up.  It may not be there, because someone removed it, or it may never have had one.  Adding them will improve the performance of the system, by allowing the main pipe(s) to fill with steam faster, and then fill the radiators faster.  It may, or may not improve the banging, which can have lots of causes. 

    Good luck getting your landlord to fix anything.  If you're paying the fuel bill, you should definitely complain loudly; if you're not, you don't have much leverage if the heat provides good temperature. 
  • JHprovidence
    JHprovidence Member Posts: 51
    thank you

    Thank you for that information
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