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help! one pipe steam with basement hot water. banging, spitting, weirdness

I posted a few simple Qs on the forum over the last week or so -- gotten some good advice and did a few things, but now some weird things are happening and I'm way out of my element. I need help!

Here's the deal:

one pipe steam with fin-tube convectors upstairs. two mains, one with a dry return and one with a wet return. A single Gorton #1 on each main. basement has its own hot water loop with a heat exchanger and its own thermostat.

about a week ago everything was working more or less fine. some small clicking and clacking in the radiators, but nothing major. That's when I put on the main venting and switched a few rad vents. All this time I'd been just leaving the utility room doors open to heat the basement and hadn't used the loop. turned the loop on a few days ago just to test it and noticed that it does not ever cut out on temp. the boiler just fires until the downstairs thermostat is satisfied. this sends steam upstairs and those rads get hot, even with that thermostat off.

beyond that issue, which needs to be fixed and may or may not be related, the weird part is that today a single radiator started having major water hammer and spitting out of the vent. then the vent locked shut and it wouldn't heat at all. i pulled off the vent and lots of water dumped out. put it back on and the hammer was unbelievable. This is off the main that has the wet return, where I recently removed a stuck trap and added a vent to fix a water hammer problem. The boiler then turned off for low water and started to fill. The water in the glass looks particularly brown and gross, too, and is jumping around all over the place.

I'm not sure why running the basement loop would screw up the radiators, or if that's even what's going on -- could be a red herring. bottom line is that I need help to figure out what's going on. I can poke around and try some stuff myself if you have suggestions, but I'm also ready to get a pro in here. any suggestions for excellent steam men in the Boston area are welcome as well.


  • Shaun McDonnell
    Shaun McDonnell Member Posts: 20

    Everything you said is out of my elementcompletly but I know someone will chime in but in the mean time give the Find A Contractor Link on the top of the page to see who is avail in your area. Everyone seems to recommend using that whenever possible.
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