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top floor apartment vents spitting out water

2 years ago I installed cast iron convector elements on a 1 pipe steam system in a top story duplex apartment 10 & 11 floor , I piped 1 1/4 to all the elements with a good pitch. The building did have a lot of issues with condensate water taking a long time to get back to the boiler witch caused flooding in the boiler room

The building replaced  the condensate tank with a bigger one witch has stopped the flooding , but there is still a lot of water spitting out of the vents on both floors

Thank You for Any suggestions



  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,922
    Relevant questions...

    What size are these convectors (EDR).  Have you checked Lost Art to ensure that the risers/runouts are big enough?

    Second -- what vents are you using on the convectors?  If the venting is too fast, you can have real problems even if the pipes are big enough with the condensate going back down not being able to get back down -- surprising how fast the steam can move in a riser sometimes, and it can blow the condensate right back up.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Vent spitting out water

    Thanks for post Jamie, the convectors are Governale cast iron elements I think the EDR is 215 degrees per section

    The riser giving the most trouble is 1 1/2 the majority of them are 2" the vents are Hoffmans no 41.

    I think your right about the condensate returning to boiler, in the basement I can see a 2" main running in the direction of this particular riser but I can't see where it turns up or I can't see a wet return coming back.

    I have attached some photos of the steam main in a different section of the building can I have anyones options
  • Steam main pictures

  • Small vents

    If the Hoffman 75 vents seen in your picture are the norm for the rest of the system, then it is under vented, and therefore unbalanced.. Your fuel supplier is very happy with this situation, because your system uses 15% more fuel to force the air out of inadequate vents on the main.

    Put some Gorton 2's on an antler in place of the hoffmans, and start saving some money.--NBC
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,785
    edited December 2013
    Fundamental Piping Issues

    First, it has not been stated, but since you are talking about spitting vents, I am guessing that this is a 1-pipe system. Spitting vents can often be remedied by making sure the pressure is never above 2 psi, that main venting is adequate, and that condensate is returning properly.

    If your pressure is over 2 psi, turn it down. It never needs to be that high.

    Your main venting is a problem because of how it is connected. It appears that the end of your steam main is vented through two tiny convector vents and that the end of main drops down through a water seal and then back up to a dry return which goes back to the boiler room. The water seal should routinely be flushed out to make sure that sediment does not collect and block that pathway. Moreover, it appears that the size of the water seal piping is just too small. All condensate has to travel through that loop and it seems that it should be the same size as the return main. Perhaps one of the pros can comment on that. Also, the location where the menorah with the 3 Hoffman 75 vents is attached is actually below the water line of that seal and is probably doing no good at all. I don't want to start an argument with the fans of the Gorton vents, but in cases where the mains are insulated and cycles are such that the main piping (and the air inside of them) remain above 165 degrees, the Hoffman 75 will outperform the Gorton by 100%.

    My next question is what kind of vent are you using on the convectors. Vents that are too fast, and particularly Heat Timer Varivalve vents, are notorious because of their tendancy to sputter and spit water on the floor.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
  • vents spitting out water

    The boiler is set at 1.5psi the vents on the convectors are Hoffman no 41 and also there is a Gordon 1 just before the convector on each riser witch was recommended by the buildings steam expert.

    Its difficult to see from the photo but the main is not teed into the 3" return the 1" lines run separate and tie in near the floor with a drain. This is not good right?

    so are the Hoffmans 75 severing any purpose? There also spitting out water, the were also installed this way with the experts recommendations.
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