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90 deg shutoff valve

Kjmass1 Member Posts: 212
Just bought a home from 1940 with steam heat...this site has been incredibly helpful!I recently replaced the 2 main vents with Gorton #1s, and replaced a bunch of rad vents with Hoffmans. This one radiator is giving me trouble. It is the last one off the main, steam pipe gets hot off of main but not getting in to rad. Replaced the valve as it was original. The valve looks like it angles downward a little bit...could that be causing a problem with water siting there?Thanks,Kevin


  • Steam_Starter
    Steam_Starter Member Posts: 109
    Theres water in dem pipes!

    Good morning

    Based on the angle of the valve in the picture, you have water sitting in the valve. Condensate cannot return to the boiler and you are condensing steam before it gets to rad.

    Not sure if you can remove that 90 and get the rad closer to the wall. It may have been installed that way for a reason. If you can't, you may have to come up with an ingenious way to pipe the rad properly.

    Either way it might not be fun but this valve being piped this way is probably the reason for the lack of heat...

    "Hey, it looks good on you though..."
  • Kjmass1
    Kjmass1 Member Posts: 212

    That's what I figured...the previous valve had been leaking and was damaged beyond repair. I'll check to see if I can remove the 90, I'm guessing it would be too tight.

    What would be another option? Get another elbow, remove the 90, and prop the rad up a little bit to give it more of an angle downwards?
  • MDNLansing
    MDNLansing Member Posts: 297
    45 or move it

    That riser probably runs in the wall then kicks out above the top plate of the wall below. This means there should be a fitting below that 90. The pipe you see coming out of the floor is most likely a nipple and you might be able to remove it. if you can take it out you could shorten it up and connect to the radiator using a 45, or move the rad and put the valve right on top of it.
  • steamedchicago
    steamedchicago Member Posts: 72
    my place has pipes close to the wall...

    The pipe is often about an inch away from the baseboard.  Most of the radiators have a coupling screwed into the valve's spud, then a nipple, then a 45 elbow, then another nipple, then the radiator.  Some have the 45 directly on the spud, a couple have 90s.  The whole building is piped like that.  So either it was done by dead knucklehead, or this can work fine.

    Single pipe steam, largely parallel flow (counter flow for risers in a couple corners), about 600 feet of main piping.  There are many, many things wrong with the building's steam plant, but this doesn't seem to be one of them.
  • MDNLansing
    MDNLansing Member Posts: 297
    It Should

    Yes, this configuration should work. There is nothing inherently wrong with it being piped this way. I was just offering up options to angle the valve, like the poster requested.

    We don't have enough information to know if water in the valve is causing the issue or not.

    I guess to expand on that here are a few more questions for the original poster. Does the valve get hot? Is the radiator partially heating, or not heating at all? Do you feel any heat on the radiator side of the valve? Does the radiator vent air? Do you notice any water hammer in this take off?
  • Kjmass1
    Kjmass1 Member Posts: 212

    Looks like there 5.5" to the wall, so I should be able to put it flush on the wall. Is there a preference to using a 45 vs 90, or going right over top of it?
  • MDNLansing
    MDNLansing Member Posts: 297

    45's are always better than 90's in a one pipe system. I possible, place the rad right over the pipe is best because it eliminates fittings. sometimes it not possible to do that though and you have to use them.

    Have you checked the other things I mentioned? It's possible your problem is not because of water in the valve. If it's something else, changing the valve angle won't matter.
  • Kjmass1
    Kjmass1 Member Posts: 212
    edited November 2013

    Looks like there is a nipple going through the floor. I'm pretty sure water is the problem. It immediately got hot when I replaced the valve, next time it cycled it won't heat. A little water came out when I detached the rad. Some heat will start to work its way through if I remove the vent, but not much. It has a new Hoffman and the previous vent works as well.
  • Kjmass1
    Kjmass1 Member Posts: 212

    The rad doesn't heat at all. Pipe from main is hot, and the valve never gets warm. First day i installed the valve it got hot, the pipe dope was bubbling, and it seemed to be Heating up. Since we haven't moved in yet, I left and came back the next day and it was cold again ( frustrating!)...thought I had solved it. Does anyone have a picture with a 45 setup? I'd like to take a look. Assuming I can't get just the 90 fitting off, is there a rule of thumb how long the nipple should be from floor to rad if I need to get the pipe cut?
  • MDNLansing
    MDNLansing Member Posts: 297

    Does the riser come from the basement hidden inside the wall below, or does it run exposed on the inside of the wall?
  • steamedchicago
    steamedchicago Member Posts: 72
    here's one of my radiators

    Here's the radiator in my bedroom.  This isn't the original radiator, which would have been six sections, and hooked up with a 90 (based on what's in other apartments in the building), but this works fine. 
  • Kjmass1
    Kjmass1 Member Posts: 212
    edited December 2013

    That helps put the 45 in perspective. Never seen one with a double vent.
  • Kjmass1
    Kjmass1 Member Posts: 212
    Partial Success

    So removed the nipple and replace with a 8" really needed to be 6.75" but Home Depot couldn't cut and thread as their machine was down...this is temporary anyways as the floors need to be repaired, I'll end up replacing with a steel pipe cut to length.

    Rad started to heat up for a little bit then cooled down and remained cool. Rad is pitched 1/2 bubble towards the pipe. I tested vent with a piece of tissue and it was puffing. I removed the vent and let is sit for 30 minutes, the valve started to get warm a little bit but barely.

    This rad is end of the main. The next rad towards the boiler is second floor, same size, and it gets really hot. Next in line is a small bathroom rad on the second floor. All 3 rads on this main have new Hoffman 40's. Main has a Gorton#1.

    I closed the valves to the second floor bathroom and bedroom. I put the vent back on and now the troubled rad got super hot and stayed hot! So I think it was a combination of venting sizes and water in the 90 degree.

    How can I vent these 3 properly so the last rad gets steam? I can get some rough main lengths if that helps. I've tried the maid o mists from HD and didn't have much success with them. I imagine it is the large bedroom rad that is taking most of the steam. What is the next size down from a Hoffman 40? Thanks for your help!
  • MDNLansing
    MDNLansing Member Posts: 297

    Sounds like you need to slow down venting on the 2nd floor bathroom and bedroom, and speed up this one. Gorton makes a number of sizes for this. I personally prefer their vents over others, but as long as you slow down the 2 and speed up the problem child I think you'd be OK. Gortons website lists how much each vent expels in proportion to each other. The manufacturers usually don't list the amount of air they vent because it can vary greatly with pressure, steam quality and so on. You just need to find out that vent B has twice the capacity of vent A and vent C has twice the capacity of vent B etc.
  • Kjmass1
    Kjmass1 Member Posts: 212
    vent specs

    Gorton /Jacobus # 4 0.025

    Hoffman # 40 0.042

    Gorton /Jacobus # 5 0.080

    Gorton /Jacobus # 6 0.150

    Gorton /Jacobus “C” 0.270

    Gorton /Jacobus “D” 0.330

    Vent -Rite 1 0.033 to 0.083

    Gorton's site suggests 6/C's on the second floor...seems much higher than what I need to vent given that Hoffman's are 3x smaller and are venting too fast. I'll try stepping down the 2nd floor bedroom to a #4 and increase the first floor to a 5 or 6. Thanks for your help!
  • steamedchicago
    steamedchicago Member Posts: 72
    double vent is a kludge

    That radiator has a double vent because the main it's on is 200 feet long, and is vented by a single Hoffman 75. (Like I said, many problems around here.)  It's on the last riser on that main, and without venting it *fast*, it doesn't get any steam on short cycles in fall or spring.  When I had a single fast vent on the radiator, it banged and gurgled. The valve side vent is a Maid o'Mist valve with no orifice plate.  it shuts off as soon as steam gets to the radiator (about 20 seconds after the valve is hot to the touch).  The vent on the other side is a #4, and takes a couple minutes longer.  (I have another radiator on the same riser, which would benefit from the same treatment, but I can't the plug out.) 

    I can't get the association to fix the systematic problems, but I can do what I can.  You should be able to solve your problem without resorting to such horribly hacky methods.

    Also, Maid o'Mist valves have interchangeable orifice plates.   They sell a kit that incudes one vent and all the plates.  Very useful for figuring out balance, and it costs only a little more than a plain vent with just one orifice.   It's much easier to switch plates than the hole vent. 
  • Kjmass1
    Kjmass1 Member Posts: 212
    edited December 2013
    MOM #4

    didn't heat to the 2nd floor bedroom now. I discovered a couple other rads on this main that I didn't see to begin with hidden in the plaster ceilings. Isn't there a way to measure the size of the main, distances to the rads, and rad size to correctly determine vent size?

    I need to double check but I believe this main goes-

    1st - 3rd floor finished attic space, medium rad

    2nd - largest rad in house, first floor foyer

    3rd- small 2nd floor bath

    4th - medium 2nd floor bedroom

    5th - medium dining room

    Ideally I would want #2 and #5 to get most of the heat on the first floor, and the rest to get average heat. Sounds like I need to get some bigger vents that are larger than the Hoffman's to balance this out.
  • mcsteamy
    mcsteamy Member Posts: 77

    You've already discovered that the valve configuration wasn't the problem.  I doubt it ever was in the first place.  The first step here should have been determining how many radiators were being fed by the riser, and shutting off the others to do a proper test.  Oh, well.  We seem to have stumbled in the right direction--now you've just got to put this all back together so it looks decent.

    Based on your comments and description of the problems, what you may have here is a scenario where you have one upfeed riser feeding multiple radiators.  The closest radiators have such large vents that they are hogging the steam.  If this, the largest radiator, is also the last radiator, you want to do something like what steamedchicago did.  He calls it a "kludge" but it's really a very good idea.

    An upfeed riser that feeds multiple radiators (or even just one) should be thought of as a rather small main.  You want to vent the end of it like crazy, then slow vent the radiators.  Putting a huge vent on the valve-side tapping and a small one on the far side does that.  Alternatively, you could drill and tap the riser, or the radiator runout, to get a decent, large vent like a "D" in there.  Then you want to simply slow-vent the radiators themselves as appropriate to balance the steam.  My recommendation is to use adjustable vents.  Either the multi-orifice Maid-O-Mist kit, or Dole #1A or Hoffman #1A.  But NOT the Home Depot piece of junk vents. 

    Welcome to December, when you're stuck with our often less-than-perfect homeowner advice... :)
  • Kjmass1
    Kjmass1 Member Posts: 212

    needed to be was leaking, there was some sort of compound wrapped around it and a pan underneath...and the hardwoods have rotted out...thanks previous owner!

    So the first riser is dedicated just to the attic space and is the longest's more of a kids playroom and not a space we will be in 90% of the time (we don't even have kids yet)...does it make sense to just shut it off or will that pipe still hog steam? That is probably the least important room to heat, but if it makes sense to tap and add another vent to it to balance the system, that's something I could do.

    Complicating that run is that it actually has a couple feet (maybe 4?) that run outside in a ceiling of our front porch where the temperature here in MA gets below freezing. I assumed it was best to keep it running in the winter to keep the pipes warm, but the water return has me worried as well.

    I did get a thermal temperature gun...most rads at the top of the first section get to around 200 degrees. The last one on the main is about 150. Where should they be in a balanced system?
  • mcsteamy
    mcsteamy Member Posts: 77

    Don't heat a room you don't occupy unless it will freeze and cause damage.  Most vents will shut off if turned upside down.  This is the preferable way to shut off a radiator.  Don't use the valve, which may or may not work (if it leaks steam but not water, it can trap condensate).  If you just need to reduce heat, use the smallest vent you can find or an adjustable cranked down.

    Pipe on the porch weird, but shouldn't matter.  Not enough water in them to cause freeze damage. 

    Again, vent the mains as fast as possible by any means necessary.  Then start by venting all the radiators slowly (which Hoffman's will do).  If you still have a cold radiator, put on a bigger vent.  If you still have a cold radiator on a long riser or runout, vent the riser or the runout, then reduce the vent again.  If still cold, increase the vent.
  • Kjmass1
    Kjmass1 Member Posts: 212
    I'm going

    to pick up the MOM pack with the different vent sizes and hopefully I can figure this out. Thanks for all of your help!
  • Kjmass1
    Kjmass1 Member Posts: 212
    Just wanted

    to post an update. I finally got most of these radiators cooking now...I switched all the vents over to MoM's 4's, with the last radiator on a D...and worked it's way down to a 6 while keeping it's heat. I picked up a cheap thermal thermometer which works great to get temps at the front and rear of the rads. They are almost all in the 180-200 degree range and seemed to be balanced better. With temps in the teens here in MA it's good to finally have some decent steam heat!

    I need to move the thermostat as it is on a wall on the other side of a pass through in the front door, so the wall is much cooler and not giving an accurate representation of room temp. Asbestos from piping was removed so will need to re-insulate those.

    Could someone explain CPH? How often should the boiler be turning on and off to maintain heat? Does it do short little bursts or longer ones?

    Thanks for everyone's help.

  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,182
    How many cph?

    It depends on how your system is configured and the phase of the moon.

    Look through this and see if anything rings a bell -

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Kjmass1
    Kjmass1 Member Posts: 212
    great stuff

    Thanks for the link.
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