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Water in the system?

dubbsi
dubbsi Member Posts: 18
Hi Everyone,



I have a one-pipe system that is spitting water out of 1 radiator and making gurgling noises out of pretty much all the other ones, even on the 2nd floor. The ones that don't gurgle emit an ear-piercing whistle.



In an attempt to stop this, I recently replaced the main vents with two Gorton #1s (they were much smaller before). I also replaced a number of the (cheap) radiator vents with Maid-o-Mist 6s and Cs. There are also a number of Vent-Rites on my other radiators.



However, nothing I do seems to affect the noise or wetness. Any ideas?



Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    Spewing vents

    How is your pressure? I hope it is below 1.5 psi.

    Are there any main vents on the returns?

    These are the key things for you to pay attention to in your system.--NBC
  • dubbsi
    dubbsi Member Posts: 18
    edited January 2014
    Pressure and vents

    The pressure is just about as low as I can make it, given my pressuretrol. Once it goes below 2psi, there aren't really any more numbers. I also have about 0.5psi differential.



    There are 2 gorton no 1s on antler-type pipes, but I don't think they're on the main. I'm including some pics of the piping. From what I can tell, it might not line up with the advice I read in "We got steam heat."
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    edited January 2014
    Water blowing up into the system due to piping problems

    If this is a new installation, then have the installer come back and repipe the boiler according to the manufacturers' instructions. It should not have been done with copper pipe, and I think the layout of pipes are wrong, and contributing to your watery vents. The boiler makers have spent a lot of time determining the ideal piping for their boilers, so as to produce dry steam, flowing without restriction up into the system to the rads. Any deviation from that layout of pipes, and you will have a torrent of water being blown up into the system, and into your rads which are not able to deal with it. To add insult to injury, if your boiler were to fail, and the manufacturer's rep came by to look at some sort of warranty replacement, he would see the improper installation, and that would be unfortunate.

    Have a look at the instruction manual, and compare pipe layout, and sizes, and you will see what I am talking about.--NBC
  • dubbsi
    dubbsi Member Posts: 18
    Like this when we got here

    Thanks, nbc. Unfortunately, while the boiler is only 2 years old, we moved in just 9 months ago, so we probably couldn't have the installers come back if we're a new customer.



    I've tried to compare the piping to the manual, but am having trouble determining what's really "wrong" vs. what just looks different between a drawing and real life. You said it looks like the piping was done incorrectly; is there anything you noticed specifically?



    Additionally, I know it will be pricey to get new near boiler piping. Is there anything I can do as a homeowner to improve the situation while I save up for it? I think others have been advised to get a 1-3psi pressuretrol, check the pigtail, etc. I think a number of my valves could use some tightening and repacking, which may help with the wet hissing noises they make.



    I've updated the pics so that they're oriented the correct way now, so they should be easier to see.



    Any advice is appreciated.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,874
    We've seen worse...

    At least as far as layout is concerned.  However, the biggest thing wrong with it is that it is all done in copper, which is bad practice.  Another thing is in the layout -- it looks to me as though the steam main -- the only steam main -- taken off one arm of a T, with the other arm going to the equalizer and the leg of the T taking the feed from the header.  This is not good, and will give you considerably wetter steam than if they had done it right.



    There are several other oddities which strike me -- the two dry returns coming together above the water line makes me wonder why they did that, for one.



    It would not be hard to repipe this as a proper drop header system, in black iron, although it wouldn't be that cheap.  But the copper won't help your boiler live a long and happy life...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • dubbsi
    dubbsi Member Posts: 18
    Piping

    My impression, given the condition of the pipes, is that they are older than the boiler itself, so it's entirely possible they kept some of the piping from the old boiler and "fit" it to the new one.



    I'm just north of Boston.  Does anyone have any recommendations for a steam guy/gal in the area?
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    Charles Garrity & Son

    I believe Charles Garrity & sonout of Lee, Ma service that area. They are one of the amazing pros that help us mere mortals on this site. You are lucky to have him so near.

    A fellow homeowner

    Colleen



    http://www.heatinghelp.com/professional/221/Charles-Garrity-and-Son-Plumbing-and-Heating
    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
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,295
    Piping

    Jamie is correct:

     you have 2 dry returns teed together above the water line NO GOOD that will never work. Steam from  1 main will shut off the steam vents to the other main and cause the condensate to back up.........hence .your spitting vents The copper piping........It will last a little while so save some money to have it fixed.
  • dubbsi
    dubbsi Member Posts: 18
    A little far

    Thanks for the suggestion. Strange as it may seem in a tiny state like this, they are actually 2-3 hours away!
  • dubbsi
    dubbsi Member Posts: 18
    Intriguing idea

    That might actually be affordable right now, rather than us having to save up. I'll have to find someone out here who's qualified to take a look at it.
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    Sorry!

    I guess i was confusing it with Lynn. I might give him a call anyway. He may have someone near you to suggest.
    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
  • Chris_L
    Chris_L Member Posts: 334
    Not so sure about the dry returns...

    I wouldn't be so sure the dry returns are the problem.  I have a two one-pipe steam systems in two units with the dry returns connected slightly above the water line.  (Don't ask me why.  The dead men did it that way, and I haven't found a reason to change it.)  It has never caused any problems--unless I put too much water in the boilers.  In that case, I'll get water hammer where the returns connect.  But I've never had problems with water spitting out of the vents.
  • dubbsi
    dubbsi Member Posts: 18
    High pressure

    We are getting ridiculously high pressure (6psi), even though the pressuretrol is set to 1.5 with a .5 cutoff. It seems as though our main venting isn't doing its job. Could this be the cause of the water making its way up the system, as well?



    And is there anything I can do to improve the situation, save for calling a professional?
  • dubbsi
    dubbsi Member Posts: 18
    Pressure

    You know what? I answered what the pressuretrol was set at, but not what the actual pressure was. The actual pressure is getting way up to 6psi, which I know is way too high. I've looked around on the board and wonder if this isn't due to a blocked pigtail.



    Obviously there could be more than one issue, but the recent increase in hissing sure sound like it coulda be related to the high pressure.
  • Try cleaning pigtail

    You said you suspected the pigtail might be clogged. If you're at all handy with wrench you can take it off and see. Try to clean it with a stiff wire or something and blow water through it. Also check the pipes from it to the pressuretrol. If all that is clear, maybe the pressuretrol isn't working?

    Disclaimer - not a pro
  • Steve_175
    Steve_175 Member Posts: 238
    An additional problem

    It is illegal to have a water heater and boiler connected to the same flue stack. They have to enter the chimney separately in MA.

    Makes me wonder how many states require this.